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    What can the abundance of Grey Parrots on Príncipe Island tell us about large parrot conservation?

    Valle, S, Collar, NJ, Melo, M and Marsden, SJ (2021) What can the abundance of Grey Parrots on Príncipe Island tell us about large parrot conservation? Journal of Tropical Ecology, 36 (6). pp. 293-297. ISSN 0266-4674

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    Abstract

    While populations of the Endangered Grey Parrot Psittacus erithacus have collapsed across its range, the species remains remarkably abundant on the island of Príncipe, Gulf of Guinea. We examine how aspects of its ecology interplay with local environmental conditions, to inform conservation strategies for this species and other large parrots. On Príncipe, parrots breed in large trees of common species, with nest densities (42 ± 34 km-2) greatly exceeding those for any comparably sized parrot. Productivity is high (1.9 chicks per cavity), probably reflecting the absence of nest competitors and predators. Food sources are abundant and much of the island is inaccessible to trappers, so many nests are successful each year. Historically harvest has involved taking only chicks from trees in a few traditional patches. These conditions have combined to allow Grey Parrots to thrive on Príncipe, while elsewhere nest trees are timber targets, nest competition and nest predation are likely to be more intense, trapping is indiscriminate, and few areas remain unexploited by trappers. Preservation of large trees as breeding refugia, and vigilance against the indiscriminate trapping of adult birds, are identified as key conditions to stabilize and recover mainland Grey Parrot populations and indeed large parrots generally, given their very similar ecological traits and anthropogenic circumstances.

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