BirdLife species factsheet for Senegal Parrot: http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/senegal-parrot-poicephalus-senegalus
Senegal Parrot (Poicephalus senegalus) is found in the savanna woodland belt of West Africa from Senegal across to northern Cameroon, southern Chad and Central African Republic. While it may occur in a variety of savanna habitats, it supposedly may favour more open habitats (Collar and Kirwan 2018). That said, in Ghana it is widespread and locally common in woodland, particularly in reserves (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2014), it is rare in deforested areas (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2014), and it requires trees for nesting (see Collar and Kirwan 2018). As such, deforestation could be having an impact on the species (per Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2014), but the major threat to the species comes from the cagebird trade. Between 1975 and 2014, 889,242 individuals of this species were known to have been exported from Africa (Martin 2018), a number approaching that seen in the globally Endangered Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithracus) (see BirdLife International 2018, Martin 2018). Indeed between 1995 and 2004 a greater number of Senegal Parrots were exported from Africa than Grey Parrots (Martin 2018). Currently listed as Least Concern (BirdLife International 2018), there has been no quantification of the population size of this species. Nevertheless, the export figures are very high, and so the species may warrant a change in Red List status. Therefore, it has been reassessed here against all criteria.
Criterion A – Currently there is a lack of any field data on this species (see Martin 2018), with no direct quantification of trends or overall population size. As such, estimating the population change over three generations for this species (30 years) is very difficult. In some areas of Ghana at least, it is becoming difficult to see and numbers may be very small locally (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2014). Additionally, its apparent greater abundance in protected areas compared to the surrounding habitat could suggest it is becoming more restricted to such areas (see Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2014).
Trade figures do show that large numbers of individuals are being removed from the wild. Between 1985 and 2014 a total of 825,775 wild individuals were exported from Africa, but this won’t show the full extent of trade in the species, as illegal and domestic trade will not have been fully incorporated (Martin 2018). These numbers are vast, but it is still uncertain to what extent such trade has been driving overall population trends. With no quantification of the overall population size it is uncertain what proportion has been removed from the wild to sustain this trade, and it could be that the population size is so large that actually the removal of these individuals has had a minimal impact on overall population dynamics. Additionally, it is not certain what proportion of the individuals being traded are breeding adults vs. immature birds taken from nests. This could potentially be important, as Criterion A looks at reductions in population size (i.e. mature individuals).
Despite these deficiencies, the levels of trade in this species are worrying. Therefore, further information is urgently sought to accurately assess the species against this criterion.
Criterion B – With an Extent of Occurrence of 3,590,000km2, this species’s range is far too large to warrant listing under this criterion.
Criterion C – The population size has not been quantified, but it is described as ‘often abundant’ (del Hoyo et al. 1997). It may be that the species is locally rare (per Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2014), but it is still highly unlikely to approach the threshold for Vulnerable under this criterion (10,000 mature individuals).
Criterion D – The species’s population size and range are far too large to warrant listing under this criterion.
Criterion E – To the best of our knowledge there has been no quantitative analysis of extinction risk conducted for this species. Therefore, it cannot be assessed against this criterion.
Therefore, we request any further information and comment regarding wild population trends to allow us to more effectively assess the species against Criterion A. Please note that this topic is not designed to be a general discussion about the ecology of the species, rather a discussion of the species’ Red List status. Therefore, please make sure your comments are relevant to the information that is sought, or about the species’ Red List status.
An information booklet on the Red List Categories and Criteria can be downloaded here and the Red List Criteria Summary Sheet can be downloaded here. Detailed guidance on IUCN Red List terms and definitions and the application of the Red List Categories and Criteria can be downloaded here.
BirdLife International. 2018. Species factsheet: Poicephalus senegalus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 14/09/2018.
BirdLife International. 2018. Species factsheet: Psittacus erithacus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 14/09/2018.
Collar, N.; Kirwan, G. M. 2018. Senegal Parrot (Poicephalus senegalus). 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 https://www.hbw.com/node/54611 on 14 September 2018).
del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1997. Handbook of the birds of the world, Vol 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions.
Dowsett-Lemaire, F.; Dowsett, R. J. 2014. The Birds of Ghana: an atlas and handbook. Tauraco Press, Liège, Belgium.
Martin, R. O. 2018. The wild bird trade and African parrots: past, present and future challenges. Ostrich 89(2): 139-143.