Parrots at Risk

Africa is developing fast. Economies and human populations are booming and as they do, demands on resources are increasing. Habitats are disappearing or becoming increasingly degraded and unable to support the parrot populations they once did. Several countries in Africa have some of the highest rates of deforestation in the world.

Because of their global popularity as pets, large numbers of parrots are trapped each year. Many populations are unable to support high rates of harvesting and once trappers have depleted local populations they move on to new areas. In addition there are the threats of disease and persecution as perceived crop pests. Often, multiple threats can act in concert and effective solutions can be far from straightforward.


Click on a parrot name in the legend, or click a marker on the map
to read more details about the threats to Africa's parrots.

    • Moderately heavy trade
    • Habitat loss, in particular mature trees with nest cavities
    • Commercial logging and land conversion to agriculture
    Learn More »

    • Heavy trapping for the wild bird trade
    • Habitat loss, up to three-quarters of forest cover in some cases
    Learn More »

What we know...

Awareness of the fragility of ecosystems is growing as is the information to inform appropriate actions. It is critical to build on these foundations to ensure healthy parrot populations and habitats in the future. The lack of information on parrots in Africa may come as a surprise given their familiarity in captivity. African greys, Senegal parrots and several lovebird species are some the most popular companions among all birds, yet some of these species have hardly been studied in the field.

What we don't know...

Recent efforts to address this shortfall have begun to fill in some of the knowledge gaps, but there remains much to be done. There is clearly a need to find out more about the continent's parrots. Some species, such as Niam-niam parrots and Swindern's lovebirds, are almost unknown and our understanding of even basic information such as their distribution is very limited. For others such as Senegal parrots and Fischer's lovebirds, some of the most traded birds overall, virtually no data on population trends exist.

Why it matters...

For other species we know enough to be concerned. For example, Yellow-fronted parrots are restricted to Ethiopia's remaining fragments of Afromontane forests which are becoming degraded both inside and outside protected areas. Actions to address habitat loss should be complemented by research into their current distribution and limits to populations. More research is needed for this and other species, studies to determine demographic trends, ecology, breeding and threats to survival will enable better planning for conservation.

While more research and monitoring will enable conservation actions to be improved,
waiting until we have the answers for all African parrots may take too long.