BirdLife South Africa is pleased to announce the Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus) as Bird of the Year for 2023.
The Cape Parrot (isikhwenene, upholi, Hokwe, Dikgwapa, Woudpapegaai) is endemic to South Africa, so it occurs nowhere else in the world. This beautiful parrot inhabits isolated patches of forest in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo provinces. It is classified as Endangered and is estimated to have a remaining population of fewer than 1800 individuals.
The Cape Parrot is a medium-sized bird (~30 cm high) with a striking green body and golden head and neck. Adults have small orange patches on the shoulders and leg feathers, with females having a red patch above their beak, which is generally missing in males. They are usually seen as singletons, pairs, family groups or larger flocks. They are most often seen flying, or at roosting and feeding sites, especially at dawn or near dusk.
The Cape Parrot is typically found in the inland Afromontane forests, much of which have been heavily affected by the logging of large hardwood trees (like Yellowwoods), causing a shortage of natural nesting sites and food availability for the species. Cape Parrots are also susceptible to the highly contagious and sometimes fatal Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease.