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Good news for Red-fronted parrots

Rowan Martin, PhD | Jul 20, 2018


Big strides were made this week towards addressing the threat of international trade to Africa’s parrots. Concerns over rising exports of Red-fronted Parrots (Poicephalus gulielmi - also known as Jardine's Parrots) were discussed at the Thirtieth meeting of the CITES Animals Committee in Geneva where there was broad support for a reduction in the export quota from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The quota was slashed from 3,000 to 450 and the DRC and wildlife exporters are under increased pressure to justify the sustainability of exports. Last year exports were close to 3,000 and already in 2018, 1,800 have been exported. 

A rise in exports from Mali was also discussed at the meeting. The species does not occur in Mali suggesting the birds are smuggled in from other countries before being issued with paperwork to enter international trade. This same ‘loophole’ was exploited previously to facilitate exports of wild Grey parrots prior to the transfer of the species to Appendix I of CITES - over 5,000 wild Grey parrots were exported from non-range states between 2007 and 2014 (Martin 2018a, see table below).

(Click here to view table)

The issue of rising exports of Red-fronted parrots was flagged up in a recently published peer-reviewed paper by the World Parrot Trust’s Africa Conservation Programme (Martin 2018b) and raised with the Animal’s Committee by the Programme manager Dr. Rowan Martin last year in Geneva. Of the top four most traded birds listed on the CITES Appendices, three are parrots endemic to Africa yet little monitoring of wild populations has taken place (Martin et al. 2014). The World Parrot Trust’s Africa Programme was launched in part to address these knowledge gaps and since 2013 has supported parrot surveys in the DRC, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Zambia and South Africa. This year new survey work will take place in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Angola. While great strides have been made there is much work to be done.    

Red-fronted parrots perch next to a forest clearing in Maniema Province eastern DRC.
Photo: (c) Andrew Bernard, Lukuru Foundation 
(Click here to view photo)

For more information on Red-fronted/Jardine's Parrots visit:


Martin, R.O., Perrin M.R., Boyes R.S., Abebe Y.D., Annorbah N.D., Asamoah A., Bizimana D., Bobo K.S., Bunbury N., Brouwer J., Diop M.S., Ewnetu M., Fotso R.C., Garteh J., Hall P., Holbech L.H., Madindou I.R., Maisels F., Mokoko J., Mulwa R., Reuleaux A., Symes C., Tamungang S., Taylor S., Valle S., Waltert M., Wondafrash M. 2014. Research and conservation of the larger parrots of Africa and Madagascar: a review of knowledge gaps and opportunities. Ostrich, 85(3), 205–233.

Martin, R.O. 2018a. Grey areas: temporal and geographical dynamics of international trade of Grey and Timneh Parrots (Psittacus erithacus and P. timneh) under CITES. Emu, 118: 113-125. 

Martin R.O. 2018b. The wild bird trade and African parrots: past, present and future challenges. Ostrich, 89(2):139-143