Founder populations and the current status of exotic parrots in South Africa

  • Craig T Symes


Parrots (families Psittacidae and Cacatuidae) are one of the most threatened taxa of birds, with a combination of threats to wild populations, including capture for the cage bird market, habitat modification and destruction, persecution, disease, and threats from introduced species. As a result of the group’s popularity as a cage bird, and the transport of vast numbers of individuals across the globe (both legally and illegally), the establishment of populations beyond their natural ranges has likely been enhanced. This review reports on c. 30 parrot species that have been observed outside of their natural ranges in South Africa, most likely derived, and supplemented, from both intentional and unintentional releases. Of these, the Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri and at least one Agapornis species have become established as breeding wild populations. Like other invasive species they may pose threats to local biodiversity; however, all are strongly associated with major urban centres where significant changes to natural biota have already occurred.

Keywords: alien, founder, invasion, parrots, South Africa

OSTRICH 2014, 85(3): 235–244

Author Biography

Craig T Symes
School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3, Wits 2050, South Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-947X
print ISSN: 0030-6525