BirdLife species factsheet for Grey Parrot: http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/factsheet/22724813
This species was formerly considered conspecific with P. timneh, but has been considered separate since 2012.
The major threat to this species is from the pet trade (Martin et al. 2014). From 1982 to 2001, over 1.3 million wild-caught individuals of both erithacus and timneh (the vast majority erithacus) entered international trade (UNEP-WCMC 2016), and when combined with pre-trade mortality this number is likely to be far higher (R. Martin in litt. 2016). Cameroon accounted for 48% of exports in 1990–1996 and estimates that c. 90% of trapped birds died before reaching Douala airport suggest that, although quotas remained at 12,000, > 100,000 birds were captured in Cameroon annually
Similarly, in Ghana, chronic exploitation since at least the 1870s and, despite a 1986 ban, local populations that numbered many hundreds in 1940s to twos and threes today, e.g. in Bia National Park. The total population in Ghana was estimated at 30,000–80,000 birds in 1992, but Annorbah et al. (2016) estimate that Ghana has lost 90–99% of its Grey Parrots since 1992, a time when the population had presumably already been seriously reduced by two decades of extremely heavy trade, and they consider that there is no evidence that, away from one or two localities, declines are less severe anywhere else within the West African range of P. erithacus.
Logging and farming are major drivers of forest loss and degradation in Ghana, compounded by poor forest management, fire and mining (Annorbah et al. 2016); in some areas it may have had more of an impact than capture for the pet trade (Tamungang and Cheke 2012). Habitat loss is undoubtedly having significant impacts, but in addition to capture for international trade, there is an active internal trade in live birds for pets and exhibition, and the species is also hunted in some areas as bushmeat and to supply heads, legs and tail feathers for use as medicine or in black magic (Collar et al. 2016).
In Kenya the species is now absent from several forests where previously reported, and virtually now only known from Kakamega Forest, where although still locally common in 1980s only ten reportedly survived in mid-1990s and probably even fewer than this in 2007.
Up to 10,000 wild-caught birds from the Democratic Republic of the Congo are apparently imported into South Africa each year, and large flocks that previously occurred around Kinshasa are now reportedly gone.
The overall rate of decline is extremely hard to quantify; previous estimates of past and future population declines were in the range of 30-49% in 3 generations (47 years), and so the species was listed as Vulnerable. However, given the extremely high level of capture for the pet trade and the continued levels of habitat loss the past and future rates of decline are likely to be greater than 50% over a three generation time period. This would then qualify the species to be listed as Endangered under criteria A2bcd+3bcd+4bcd.
We welcome any comments on this proposed uplisting.
Annorbah, N. N. D.; Collar, N. J.; Marsden, S. J. 2016. Trade and habitat change virtually eliminate the Grey Parrot Psittacus erithacus from Ghana. Ibis 158: 82-91.
Collar, N., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2016). Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/54603 on 15 September 2016).
Madindou, I. & Mulwa, R. (2010). Grey Parrot Report II. Some conservation aspects concerning the African Grey Parrot Psittacus erithacus in Kakamega Forest, Kenya: assessment of the effects of trade and habitat destruction. Avicult. Mag.116: 88–95
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: 205-233.
Tamungang, S. A.; Cheke, R. A. 2012. Population status and management plan of the African Grey Parrot in Cameroon. Review of Significant Trade. CITES.
UNEP-WCMC. 2016. CITES Trade Database. Cambridge,UK Available at: http://trade.cites.org/. (Accessed: 2016).