IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

Brief Summary

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Found only in South Africa. Regarded as Endangered.

Virtually the whole lifestyle of these birds is centred on yellowwood trees. Their preferred feeding, roosting and nesting sites are in forests dominated by these trees.

In South Africa suitable forest patches are found in the Eastern Cape and southern KwaZulu-Natal with a few scattered yellowwood forest patches in Limpopo.

Must not be confused with the Grey-headed Parrot, (Poicephalus fuscicollis suahelicus) which looks very similar to the Cape Parrot, but is found in the Limpopo Province, Mocambique and Zimbabwe and is now regarded as a separate species from the Cape Parrot.

A mature Cape Parrot stands 30cm high and can weigh up to 350g. Like all parrots it has a robust beak which is used to crack open nuts and seeds. The favoured seed is that of the yellowwood tree and their availability greatly influences seasonal movements of these birds. They also feed on other forest trees especially the Natal plum and White stinkwood. If the indigenous food source is in short supply, the parrots are sometimes forced to feed outside forests and will raid fruit orchards or pecan nut trees.

Nest in cavities usually in dead yellowwood trees. They usually lay three eggs of which one to two chicks survive the first year.

Use mature yellowwood trees, which usually project out of the forest canopy, as roosting sites and vantage points They are active and inquisitive birds which are often seen flying around and above forest patches in the early morning or late afternoon.

Characteristic loud squawk is usually heard when the birds are in flight and contact calls between roosting birds may also be heard.


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© Colleen T. Downs

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