Like all parrot populations, Cape Parrot numbers are difficult to estimate (Casagrande & Beissinger 1997). Birds fly long distances between nesting, roosting and feeding areas (Chapman et al. 1989, Casagrande & Beissinger 1997). They are often difficult to detect and mark-recapture methods are unsuitable (Casagrande & Beissinger 1997). Trends in the population size of the Cape Parrot are particularly important because of its Endangered status, and for its conse ex-Transkei) (Skead 1964, 1971, Dalldorf pers. comm.), and in KwaZulu-Natal (Skead 1971, Kerr, Geekie pers. comm.) and little in the Northern Province, where it remains scarce (Brooke 1984). Accurate estimates of population size are difficult as standard bird census techniques are inappropriate because the birds are not predictable in their occurrence at particular forests.
Numbers and presence are determined during annual intensive national surveys which have been held since 1997 in the form of the Cape Parrot Big Birding Day. Presence of birds is unpredictable at forest patches in the Eastern Cape (know includes the ex-Transkei), Limpopo Province and KwaZulu-Natal. Present distributions in forest fragments reflect past distribution in a large mosaic of forest patches. Numbers are exceedingly low and the best estimate of numbers is 300-350 birds in the Eastern Cape, 150-170 in KwaZulu-Natal, and 50-60 in the Transvaal Drakensberg. This suggests about 500-600 Cape Parrots remain in the wild (for more current data on Cape Parrot numbers click here) Breeding success is low and populations are considered to be declining (Wirminghaus et al. 1999; Wirminghaus et al. 2000b).
The Cape Parrot is not represented by a metapopulation as the birds are able to visit various forests and the subpopulations do not seem isolated with the exception of those in the Limpopo Province (Meffe & Carroll 1997).