This discussion was first published on Dec 6 2010 as part of the 2011 Red List update.
Initial deadline for comments: 31 January 2012.
Grey Parrot Psittacus erithacus has been split into Grey Parrot P. erithacus and Timneh Grey Parrot P. timneh on the basis of genetic, morphological, plumage and vocal differences, following the findings presented by Melo and O’Ryan (2007) and additional work by the BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group (unpubl. data).
Prior to this taxonomic change, P. erithacus was listed as Near Threatened because its population was estimated to be declining at a rate of 20-29% over 10 years following observed declines in Burundi, Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Togo, Uganda and parts of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In all of these declines, trapping for the wild bird trade has been implicated, with habitat loss also having significant impacts throughout West and East Africa. Forest loss during 1990-2000 was estimated to be particularly high in Côte d’Ivoire (31%), Sierra Leone (29%), Nigeria (26%) and Liberia (20%).
P. erithacus (as defined following the taxonomic change), has recently been characterised as probably still numerous in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo; however, it may be largely gone from other parts of its range (J. Gilardi pers. comm.). P. timneh may have now disappeared from much of its former range (J. Gilardi pers. comm.). The population trends for these species should be corrected for a period of 47 years (estimate of three generations), thus if the present rate of 20-29% over 10 years is re-estimated for this longer time period these species are likely to qualify for a higher threat category. However, the existing estimate for the population trend over 10 years may also be out of date. A decline of at least 30% over the past 47 years would make these species eligible for Vulnerable, with a decline of at least 50% over the past 47 years making them eligible for Endangered. The projected rate of decline over the next 47 years should also be estimated.
Up-to-date information is requested for these species, in particular the estimated rates of decline over a period of 47 years and the severity of threats.
Melo, M. and O’Ryan, C. (2007) Genetic differentiation between Príncipe Island and mainland populations of the grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus), and implications for conservation. Molecular Ecology 16: 1673-1685.