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Ornithological Conference Focuses on Plight of African Parrots

Rowan Martin, PhD | Nov 23, 2016


Dr. Rowan Martin, Keynote speaker at Pan-African Ornithological Congress

The conservation of African parrots received another boost last month when researchers and conservationists from across the African continent gathered for the fourteenth Pan-African Ornithological Congress in Dakar, Senegal. As part of the congress, which takes place every four years, a special symposium was dedicated to the continent's parrots.

The symposium was opened with a key note address by the World Parrot Trust's Africa Programme Director, Dr. Rowan Martin, who presented an overview of the parrot trade and outlined directions for addressing the threat it poses to wild birds - a subject that was highly topical in the wake of the recent decision at CITES to end trade in African Grey parrots caught in the wild.

There followed a series of fascinating talks, updating delegates on the latest research into Timneh parrots in Guinea-Bissau, the genetic structure of Cape parrots in South Africa, the occurrence of Parrot Beak and Feather Disease in wild parrots in Africa and around the world and the role played by supplementary feeding in the recovery of the once critically endangered Echo parakeet in Mauritius.

The congress also provided an opportunity for the International Ornithologist’s Union Working Group on Parrots to meet and plan next steps for important research on Africa’s parrots.