Cape parrot: Saving SA’s jewel of the forest
South Africa’s only endemic parrot is the Cape parrot (Poicephalus robustus), known as the ‘jewel of the forest’. With an estimated 1,800 of these birds left in the wild, they are considered an endangered species.
The strikingly bright green-and-yellow birds are found in the forests of the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo. They are particularly fond of using trees such as yellowwoods to create their nests in and lay eggs.
Their main threats include logging for furniture, illegal capture from the wild and outbreaks of beak and feather disease.
Because they are at such high risk, BirdLife SA chose the Cape parrot as its bird of the year for 2023.
How you can help
The Cape Parrot Project’s My Forest Campaign aims to restore 15 hectares of forests that the Cape parrot depends on. Make a donation and contribute to their goal of raising R3-million.
Critically endangered birds
There are 12 birds on a shameful list – the most critically endangered birds in the country.
Half of the list comprises raptors, predator birds which feed on other vertebrates. But it is the Leach’s storm petrel, a dark grey seabird, that seems to be the worst off. East London Museum’s ornithologist Dr Philip Whittington says there are only 3 to 4 breeding birds of this seabird in the region.