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Sharing the love: lovebird researchers and conservationists come together at PAOC15 in Vic Falls

Rowan Martin, PhD | May 05, 2023


by: Sascha Dueker, WPT Lovebird Conservation Coordinator.

Over the last 3 years lovebird researchers and conservationists from across Africa have been working together to review the knowledge gaps and research priorities for the conservation of the lovebirds. This project was initiated by the Parrot Researcher’s Group, and the collaborative efforts have led to the production of a scientific paper recently accepted for publication in Africa’s leading ornithological journal Ostrich. One of the outcomes of this process has been the development of a community of researchers and conservationists concerned about the plight of lovebirds however many of us have never had the chance to meet in person. After two years of delays due to the Covid 19 pandemic the Pan African Ornithological Congress in Victoria Falls Zimbabwe provided just such an opportunity.

The Congress was the ideal venue to launch the key findings of the review and engage with leading researchers and conservationists about the plight of Africa’s lovebirds. WPT’s Lovebird Conservation coordinator Sascha Dueker presented the key findings of the review in the poster sessions alongside several of the review’s co-authors. An evening lovebird networking event, organised by Sascha, provided an opportunity for discussion and the forging of new friendships.

Victoria Falls lies close to the ranges of two of Africa’s most threatened lovebirds Black-cheeked and Nyasa (or Lilian’s) lovebirds and may have been home to the former in the recent past. These two species are endemic to the Mopane woodlands of the Zambezi River basin, a habitat which is under threat. Dr. Tiwonge Mzumara-Gawa of the Malawi University of Scientific and Technology and WPT’s Lovebird Research Officer coordinated a symposium on threats to Mopane Woodlands in the region with a particular focus on how lovebird populations can be supported.

These presentations, meetings, and discussions at the PAOC15 were an important step in raising awareness of the need for lovebird research and conservation, and in helping to build a network of passionate conservationists. We must all work together to ensure that lovebirds are protected and conserved for future generations.

The PAOC15 opening ceremony was held at the bank of the Zambezi River in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. An opportunity for WPT Lovebird Conservation Coordinator Sascha Dueker to connect with lovebird researchers.


Sascha, Tamara, and Tiwonge presenting findings of the lovebird research and conservation review.

A fun and informal yet informative evening gathering for African lovebird researchers.