BirdLife species factsheet for Timneh Parrot: http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/factsheet/22736498
This species was formerly considered conspecific with P. erithacus, but has been considered separate since 2012. It is endemic to West Africa, and is found from Guinea-Bissau east through Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire. Its population size is not certain, but estimates in 1992 put it in the range of 120,000-259,000 (Dändliker, 1992). This is likely to have been an overestimate, and the population is estimated to be decreasing rapidly, and so the population size is likely to be smaller than this.
The major threat to this species is from the pet trade, but habitat loss may also have a significant effect on this species. There has been a dramatic decline (90-99%) in the related and ecologically similar P. erithacus in Ghana (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett. 2014, Annorbah et al. 2016) and it is likely that similar processes that led to the decline have operated and continue to operate in neighbouring countries (R. Martin in litt. 2016). In fact, in the case of exploitation for the overseas pet trade the declines have possibly been at even greater intensities over the last two decades (R. Martin in litt. 2016). In terms of habitat loss, c.77% of the Upper Guinea EBA forest cover had been lost by 1991 (Allport 1991), and regional forest loss has continued at a high rate since then (H. Rainey in litt. 2010).
The species appears to have disappeared completely from around Mt Nimba (Liberia); surveys in 2008–2011 in East Nimba Nature Reserve and nearby forest failed to find the species, with no indication that the species has been present recently, and it was surprisingly scarce in the area as early as the 1970s. An estimated c. 1,400 birds were smuggled from Côte d’Ivoire annually in 1981–1984, over 99% being P. timneh. In Gola Forest of Sierra Leone it persists but never seems to have been particularly abundant, with groups rarely reaching double figures; elsewhere in the country large decline since 1930s and 1940s; now confined to mangrove belt and forests of the east (del Hoyo et al. 2016).
While there has been some domestic demand within range states, most impacts seem to be due to international trade, probably owing to the high value of this species. In addition to those birds smuggled from Ivory Coast, in 2009 Guinea exported 720 P. timneh, despite a quota of zero, and legal trade as monitored by CITES may represent only a proportion of the total numbers taken from the wild. CITES imposed a two-year ban from Jan 2007 on exports of timneh from four West African countries, and the importation of wild-caught birds into the EU was prohibited in 2007, leading to a fall in exports of both species, but the number of exportations rose once again in 2008/09 (del Hoyo et al. 2016).
The rate of decline is hard to quantify and 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.
Allport, G. 1991. The status and conservation of threatened birds in the Upper Guinea Forest. Bird Conservation International 1: 53-74.
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.
Dandliker, G. 1992. Le Perroquet Gris (Psittacus erithacus) en Guinée: evaluation des populations, contribution à la biologie, étude de l’exploitation commerciale et recommendations pour la gestion. Report sur le projet CITES S-30. CITES Secretariat, Geneva.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2016). Timneh Parrot (Psittacus timneh). 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/467496 on 15 September 2016).
Dowsett-Lemaire, F.; Dowsett, R. J. 2014. The Birds of Ghana: an atlas and handbook. Tauraco Press, Liège, Belgium.