The World’s Most Traded Wild Birds? Senegal Parrots, color morphs, and the wild-caught bird trade…

Over the last 30 years as many as 3 million wild Senegal parrots have been removed from the wild – 811,408 CITES Export permits have been issued since 1975. Unregulated trade in African parrots peaked in the 1980s and ’90s, and still exists today. This lucrative black market industry is fueled by profiteering middlemen who exploit wild bird populations. In 2005, the Senegal parrot was the most traded bird on the CITES Appendix II, with an average of over 45,000 individuals being removed from the wild each year. Today, African parrots remain among the most traded species on earth. See some alarming photographs from a market in Mali and enjoy some rare footage of Senegal parrots and rose-ringed parakeets in the wild…
Michele Roberts/Cape Parrot Project
Senegal parrots make wonderful companions and are very common in captivity in the United States and Europe for this reason. Before 1992, however, the United States imported hundreds of thousands of wild-caught Senegal parrots from West Africa. (Michele Roberts/Cape Parrot Project)
Bruce Wilson
Hand-raised Senegal parrot perched on a branch. This parrot thinks that at some point it will grow up into a human being. He/she has no idea what it is to be wild and is ready to be a companion to a lucky owner. How do we differentiate between wild-caught and captive-bred birds? (Bruce Wilson/Cape Parrot Project)
City Parrots
Feral Senegal parrot that lives near The Hague (Netherlands). Huge numbers of wild-caught Senegal parrots were exported to Europe and United States. (City Parrots)
Cyril Laubscher
Portrait of a rose-ringed parakeet. Distributed across the entire Sahel they have one of the widest distributional ranges of any parrot in Africa. These successful, aggressive generalists have managed to establish themselves in many large cities in Africa and Europe. (Cyril Laubscher)


The Senegal parrot forms part of a superspecies that also includes the Ruppell’s parrot, Meyer’s parrot, Red-billed parrot, Brown-headed parrot, and Niam-Niam parrot. These Poicephalus parrots are among the hardiest parrots on earth being able to survive in the harsh, seasonal African subtropics. All of their range states are under serious pressure from the booming charcoal industry, out-of-control commercial logging contractors, burning by local people for pastures and agriculture, as well as the longre term ravages of climate change. Deforestation rates on the continent are now twice that of the rest of the world and harvesting quotas are trending upwards as forest certification becomes less relevant with booming emerging markets in the Far East. Countries like Zambia, Kenya and Malawi have almost lost all old-growth forests and forest restoration has become absolutely essential to save endemic forest bird species. People in emerging markets are simply “keeping up with the Jones’s” (who already have hardwood floors) and are completely detached from the devastation they are causing on the African continent and elsewhere. Even if these people and others did know about forest patches and the species that rely on them disappearing, would they care? Or better put should they care? We cannot sit here in judgement of them without fully understanding their life experience by having lived it. All we can do is lead by example, share this information as widely as possible, and invest in projects that develop alternative livelihoods for rural communities that should be the custodians of our remaining wilderness areas.


Long-lived forest specialists like Senegal parrots and rose-ringed parakeets are particularly sensitive to forest degradation. The added pressure of the wild-caught bird trade is often catastrophic, resulting in local extinctions in many Africa countries. Meyer’s parrots have all but disappeared from South Africa, African grey parrots are no longer seen in Kenya or Tanzania, Ruppell’s parrot and the brown-headed parrot have disappeared from much of their ranges in Namibia and Mozambique respectively, and the Cape parrot is only found in small forest refuges in the high mountains. Anyone who has traveled by road in Africa will tell you that every time you are in or near a forest you will start seeing parrots in cages or with their feet tied up on the roadside. Africa is exporting its parrots, its wildlife, its birdlife, its natural heritage, its soul… You see these animals, plants and minerals at the ports, airports, borders, railway depots, and major city centers. If there are parrots in the region you will find them in the local markets, more often than not dying from malnutrition and disease. These are the parrots that the traders, exporters and middlemen that drive the wild-caught bird trade would not include in their latest shipment overseas. Do we want these skins from the Natural History Museum at Tring (UK) to be all we have left of the wild populations?


Steve Boyes/Natural History Museum at Tring (UK)
Skins of the six Poicephalus parrots comprising the P. meyeri superspecies. These are the quintessential African parrots best evolved for life on this harsh continent. (Steve Boyes/Natural History Museum at Tring (UK))


Witnessing African parrots in the wild is a very special experience. They are extremely high energy and somehow seem out of place in this wild and dangerous place. Their shrieks, whistles and calls usually appear cheerful and happy as they soar above the forest canopy, adding much need color to the all too utilitarian color scheme employed by most birds in the subtropics where predation is a huge risk. My PhD fieldwork on Meyer’s Parrot in the Okavango Delta revealed the degree to which you can interact with these intelligent little parrots. You learn about their complex society that supports pair-bonding for life, strong family ties, and the opportunity to grow up into a responsible adult parrot capable of breeding successfully. Young Meyer’s parrots were inquisitive and fun to be with, allowing me to climb into the tree with them and photograph them. Adult females at the nest cavity would get to know us very well and vocalize to tell the male that we were “Ok” and would not harm them or give away their location. Wild Meyer’s parrots are constantly sharing information with each other about social events, food resources, emotion, threat, and tragedy. Information is power and to protect it they have established local dialects to ensure more benefit for locals over seasonal nomads. Poicephalus parrots visibly have moods, personalities and emotions. You can literally feel this when there are enough parrots sharing the same emotion and vocalizing about it. This could be happiness, simple excitement, alarm, anxiety or simply confused discussion about something new like you. African parrots have taken my breath away many, many times and deserve to be free…


Michael Sazhin/
Senegal parrots are relatively rare in the wild today. Most of your contact with Senegal parrots in West Africa will be in the markets. (Michael Sazhin/
Ralitza Tchiorniy
Brown-headed parrot hanging in front of the entrance to a nest cavity in a large hardwood tree targeted by the charcoal trade in the region. (Ralitza Tchiorniy)
Cyril Laubscher
Sequence of a captive Meyer's parrot flying to a perch in a studio. These tough little parrots have the largest distributional range of any African parrot and have been put forward as the ancestral species for the subregion. (Cyril Laubscher)
Steve Boyes/Wild Bird Trust
Pair of Meyer's parrot fledglings feeding on a sausage fruit in the Okavango Delta (Botswana). When they are this young, you are able to climb up into the tree with them. They are very inquisitive. (Steve Boyes/Wild Bird Trust)
© Diana May. All rights reserved. Source: World Parrot Trust –
Timneh grey parrots flying away from a communal drinking point. These are most often the capture sites for hundreds upon hundreds of these parrots using nylon snares and fishing nets. (Diana May)

Rare video footage of the Senegal parrot in the wild:

Rare video footage of rose-ringed parakeets in the wild:


On a recent trip to West Africa, Michael Sazhin (, was aiming to survey the forest habitat of two popular African parrot species, the Senegal parrot and rose-ringed parakeet. Footage and photos of these parrots in the wild is very rare and remaining wild populations are sparsely distributed. In addition, most wild populations are still heavily harvested for the wild-caught bird trade, depleting local wild populations and making Michael’s job even harder. Often the best forest habitat for these species is in the cities of the region, which brings these parrots into contact with people and the associated problems. Trees survive in the city because specific people own them… There are few stable African parrot populations outside of protected areas and even these are not as healthy as they should be. Unfortunately, most of the parrots that Michael encountered were wild-caught and in very poor conditions in street markets. These are the parrots that the commercial traders and exporters did not want. All will die if they are not purchased and sometimes business is slow…


Michael Sazhin/
“The only Senegal Parrots I saw in Senegal were a pair of wild caughts for sale at the side of a road in the capital city of Dakar. As we were driving through heavy traffic, the seller of these parrots walked up to the car sticking the cage up to the window offering both of them with cage for 20 euros (approximately $30 USD).” (Michael Sazhin/

Video footage of this man selling parrots to Michael Sazhin:


Michael Sazhin/
"Atop a garbage pail was a small round cage housing nearly 20 parrots and parakeets. The condition of the cage was so crammed that some of the parrots had to cling to the cage bars or stand on top of other birds. The poor condition of the parrots was evident through plucked feathers, missing eyes, missing limbs, and weak stance. Tossed on the bottom of the cage amidst feces was chicken feed mainly consisting of corn. Despite their tragic lives, the Senegal Parrots still gave off that typical parrot curiosity and watched me as I approached." (Michael Sazhin/
Michael Sazhin/
"The market parrots were mostly being sold to local people (often as decorations for offices and hotels) but some to smugglers to be taken abroad. To show a parrot to perspective customers, the vendor opens a small door on the cage and reaches his arm in. The parrots immediately go into a frenzy and start jumping over each other to try to evade the approaching hand. Meanwhile he starts grabbing and pulling by their wings until they can no longer hold on and fall into his reach." (Michael Sazhin/
Michael Sazhin/
"During the last segment of my trip in Bomako Mali, I was taken to see the local parrot market. Scattered on the side of the street under cover of trees were about a dozen vendors and many cages. At least as many other kinds of local birds were offered as parrots. Parrots came in two varieties: Rose Ringed parakeets (Psittacula krameri) and Senegal parrots (Poicephalus senegalus)." (Michael Sazhin/


International trade in wild-caught parrots threatens the persistence of many wild populations around the world. Indonesia, the Philippines, and several African countries (e.g. Senegal, Cameroon, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo) are among the major exporters of wild parrots. Around Africa parrots are being treated like commodities by desperate people being taken advantage of by unscrupulous traders and middlemen. The parrots are not the only victims here. This unethical and unsustainable trade needs to be brought to a halt before it is too late. Rural communities need to find sustainable livelihoods have no impact on biodiversity and the ecosystems thats support it. People that own, love, and breed parrots around the world need to stand up and unite against the wild-caught bird trade. We have learnt enough over the last century about breeding birds in captivity to be able to supply the needs of the international bird trade. Please submit your thoughts and comments below this blog post…


Mark Brown/University of KwaZulu-Natal
Madagascar lovebirds in a market where they are sold for close to nothing... (Mark Brown/University of KwaZulu-Natal)
Bruce Wilson/Cape Parrot Project
African grey parrots being prepared for market by local traders... (Bruce Wilson/Cape Parrot Project)
Steve Boyes/Wild Bird Trust
Brown-headed parrots with broken wings trying to survive in a market in Mozambique. (Steve Boyes/Wild Bird Trust)
World Parrot Trust/PASA
Grey parrots crammed into a travel crate and smuggled to emerging markets. Many die in transit of stress, dehydration and smothering. (World Parrot Trust/PASA)


We need to ensure that, in the future, all Senegal parrots in captivity (like the one below) are all captive-bred and hand-raised. After heavy regulation since 1992, the United States has proven that all African parrot species can be effectively bred in captivity and there is no need to source any species from the wild.


Mylene LaCroix/Cape Parrot Project
Captive Senegal parrot posing for the photographer. They form amazing bonds with their human companions... (Mylene LaCroix/Cape Parrot Project)
Scott Lewis/Old World Aviaries
Brown-necked parrot hatchling at Old World Aviaries. These parrots are threatened by habitat loss and the wild-caught bird trade. Why do we continue to put pressure on wild populations? (Scott Lewis/Old World Aviaries)
Scott Lewis/Old World Aviaries
Baby, captive-bred African grey parrot chicks hatched at Old World Aviaries. Why do we still remove over 100,000 African grey parrots from the wild each year? Why did South Africa import over 5,400 wild-caught African grey parrots when we exported almost 25,000 in the same year? (Scott Lewis/Old World Aviaries)
Scott Lewis/Old World Aviaries
Juvenile Senegal parrot just before fledging age. These popular parrots are easily bred in captivity without any use of wild-caught parrots. (Scott Lewis/Old World Aviaries)
Scott Lewis/Old World Aviaries
Jardine parrot chicks at Old World Aviaries. We are unsure of how these parrots are doing in the wild...? (Scott Lewis/Old World Aviaries)


Does it not make sense for us to ban international trade in any birds that looks like their wild cousins? What I mean by this is that only captive-bred color morphs (e.g. pink African grey parrots) that cannot be confused with wild parrots would be allowed into international trade. The movement of what appear to be wild, indigenous species should not leave their country of origin. If captive populations need to be established to save a species from extinction, then this should be done within their natural distributional range. A color morph is the direct result of selective breeding by aviculturalists and part of this process is domestication. We have discussed the application of DNA fingerprinting to identify wild-caught birds, but this research is proving to be costly and the results often inconclusive. We have seen captive-bred color morphs of the rosy-faced lovebird establish a growing population on the South African south coast. There are concerns around their use of the indigenous Cape weaver nests for breeding. At least these escapees were far from their established distributional range and are easily identifiable. Please submit your thoughts and comments below this blog post… Is this a viable option? Are color morphs a threat to the gene pools of captive parrot populations? Why do we need wild genes introduced periodically to captive populations?


David Dennison/Avizamdum
"Pink" African grey parrots were bred over hundreds of generations to achieve 100% coverage in these feathers. The first pink African Greys were sold for over $150,000. Are clear color morphs not an option for the regulation of the wild-caught bird trade? Disallow ownership of birds that look like their wild cousins...? (David Dennison/Avizamdum)
Steve Boyes/Wild Bird Trust
Yellow color morph of a Rosy-faced Lovebird from Namibia. Escapees have established a growing population on South African south coast using Cape weaver nests for breeding. (Steve Boyes/Wild Bird Trust)


  1. SenegalStyle
    Dakar, Senegal
    December 10, 2016, 5:09 am

    Let me make sure I understand this: u propose to put African bird dealers selling at a reasonable price, (feeding their families and not waiting on charity) out of business by only allowing white dealers in America and the west who have expensive trade in high priced stores clone or genetically modify the birds to get a monopoly on the market?

    White privilege: this is what we’re talking about

    2ndly just because you came to Senegal stayed (how many days? 3/4? a week?) and now deem yourself an expert, doesn’t mean anything. Because you stepped off a plane and asked local people aren’t going to tell you where Senegalese parrots are in the wild (because they are tired of hippo and hypocritical comments from the same white people that have these birds as pets), doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Obviously if you see them in the market and 45,000 ‘individuals’ are sold they must be getting them somewhere huh?

  2. Shari Mirojnick
    Florida USA
    February 6, 2016, 4:24 pm

    I believe all trade in parrots should end. While educating consumers about the unsuitability of parrots in captivity, we can bring about an end to all breeding and capture for the parrot pet trade. If there’s no demand, then there’s no need for supply. Another benefit to this idea is that, if there are no parrots being traded, then wild parrots being moved from place to place won’t have cover from a legal trade. This will make it easier to protect wild populations.

    I don’t think the color morph/mutation idea will help in protecting wild birds. First, the chances of domestication are beyond slim. Given how many species have coexisted with humans, the number of species domesticated is infinitesimal. Second, parrots don’t fit the profile put forth by some experts for suitability for the domestication process. Third, even if we were to successfully domesticate any species of psittasiforme, would they lose the characteristics humans find so appealing, eg, intelligence and color? Those two traits in particular seem to get lost in the process. Fourth, one desire for keeping parrots is their “exotic-ness,” and many people are drawn to the idea of rarity. If we replaced the parrots we trade today with a new and different, more plentiful species, would that make the wild parrots even more desirable? Fifth and lastly, I’ve heard lovebird breeders say they’d be hard-pressed to find a peach-faced lovebird, Agapornis roseicollis in captivity that isn’t “split” to something. Considering we were able to wipe out billions of passenger pigeons in such a short time, if something were to happen to the peach-faced population, we have only a tainted gene pool left in captivity.

    I agree that global poverty and greed are the main problems affecting wildlife, as well as affecting so many people worldwide. Instead of raping the resources of desperate people, using it all up and then moving on to leave the decimation behind has no long-term benefit, either. Instead, of taking, we should be creating partnerships. When our partners are able to buy from us, it benefits all. However, let’s not make the perfect the enemy of the good. We can certainly work on global poverty while taking other steps to help save wildlife and habitat.

  3. […] like this beautiful Amazon parrot, are captured and sold as exotic pets. Read our blog post on what may be the “worlds’ most traded wild birds.”Photograph by Bruce Dale, National […]

  4. Marshall
    Westbrook, Mn
    January 29, 2014, 2:14 pm

    The picture of the african greys that were flying weren’t Timneh african greys. They were Congo african greys. A Timneh isn’t as large as a congo and the red on the tail feathers isn’t as bright on a Timneh.

  5. Chuck
    Boca Raton, Florida USA
    October 15, 2013, 6:47 pm

    I have a wonderful Senegal parrot. There is an interesting problem, he has bonded with me and is the most docile wonderful friend I have. As far as my wife, he wants nothing to do with her, he will bite hard with the intention of hurting her and at times has drawn blood from her finger. An amazing thing about this little fellow, he actually makes a sound very similar to a growl under his breath when she comes near. How can he be so loving to me and so hateful to her?

  6. […] Perroquet du Sénégal, le plus vendu de tous. […]

  7. B. Lee
    August 25, 2013, 12:59 pm

    The last picture is probably a pastelIno
    Fischer’s or Masked lovebird or perhaps a Personatus-Fischer hybrid.
    Definitely not a Rosy-faced lovebird.
    Rosy-faced lovebird do not have obvious white circle around their eyes.

  8. Ashford Mbiuki
    August 13, 2013, 1:15 am

    I need to buy parrots from a Kenyan who rears them and who is permitted by KWS.

  9. Ali.Shaheen
    March 4, 2013, 9:23 am

    I am Ali Shaheen from Jordan, I saw your homepage in the internet, i am pigeons dealer, I am very interested to get birds personally from USA to Jordan, I have many pigeons and birds in my farm and ducks from Germany and Europe, I would like to come to USA and there to see the birds, I need an invitation from your company to USA, I have all important documents of chamber of Commerce in Jordan, I hope for a positive response.


    with my best regards

    Ali shaheen

  10. Maxwell Johnson
    Holladay, Utah
    January 21, 2013, 6:33 pm

    I am the owner of a male Senegal Parrot, that was bred captively. I am shocked to see that these parrots are still being captured wildly and are being sold for such low prices. I had always though that the Senegal Parrot was protected by being listed on Appendix 2 of CITES, but I suppose the black market goes around this. It is my wish that in the future people can make more money protecting the parrots, rather than contributing to their disappearance.

  11. Laurella Desborough
    United States
    December 6, 2012, 1:19 pm

    As a person who has worked with parrots for some 30 years in the US, and who is extremely interested in conservation of habitat and wildlife around the world, including the habitats for parrots, I find the theme concerning trade to be disturbing. Here is why. Discussing the need to eliminate or control trade in wild parrots or any wildlife, is discussing a result, not a cause. Why are wild birds and animals being captured and sold? Because poor peoples in countries of origin have found this to be ONE way to make use of a natural resource. Another way is possible if trade is prohibited: these birds and animals will be used as a source of FOOD. Unless and until the poor peoples in these countries have OTHER means of making a living and providing for their families and seeing a future for their children, the trade in animals and birds will continue. It is fool hardy and a useless exercise to discuss halting trade when the UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES of doing so will more likely mean that these beautiful parrots are going to continue to be captured only to end up in a STEW POT! Consider that in some countries where laws and regulations exist against the capture and trade of parrots, that these birds are still routinely captured, local officials paid off, and the birds transported internationally to the countries where they are still able to acquire them. So, unless and until the serious issue of poverty in countries of origin is addressed, it is foolish to prohibit trade in parrots. Remember, here in the US we managed to wipe out the Passenger Pigeon in a few years when there were BILLIONS of those birds! We managed to wipe out the Carolina parroquet also…and far more recently, 1950s, we managed to exterminate the last of the Ivory Billed woodpeckers because the rich ass who owned the forests in Louisiana sold the forests so that the British could make special containers for the tea equipment for their military! So, for all the mourners for the wild parrots around the world, sit back and think a bit about the destruction meted out on birds in the US by OUR people…and continuing today the loss of millions of birds in the US by the feral cat fools who feed these cat colonies even on land designated as set aside for rare and endangered species! We need to clean our own house FIRST! Wind turbines, pesticides, lighted skyscrapers, cell phone towers, dogs on the beach, free roaming cats…need I go on?

  12. […] The World’s Most Traded Wild Birds – Senegal Parrots, Color Morphs and the Wild-caught Bird Trade:… […]

  13. […] ability, they are the most highly trafficked and abused parrot species in the world along with the Senegal Parrot, another African species. It is estimated that up to 20% of the wild population of Grey’s is […]

  14. African Grey Talking Ability
    March 15, 2012, 10:36 pm

    […] ability, they are the most highly trafficked and abused parrot species in the world along with the Senegal Parrot, another African species. It is estimated that up to 20% of the wild population of Grey’s is […]

  15. Ingrid Gendreau
    San Francisco
    March 11, 2012, 7:38 pm

    Seeing the skin of the brown headed parrot made me ill. I will never be able to unsee that, or anything else in this shock post. At 11 years of age I bought a brown headed parrot, and she is my best friend. I would rather die than to see her life end.

    I am glad National Geographic is sharing the horrors of bird trade and capture. It is terrible, the worst of all. I am in high school, and my dream is to help parrot conservation. This can not continue. I am sobbing right now, for the sake of these wonderful animals who have to be treated in such a way. Please stop, please stop this. If only my life would be enough to end these nightmares.

  16. Sayed Abdul Baseer
    February 13, 2012, 4:35 pm

    This video made me very sad i can’t watch this because i am font of birds i love birds

  17. Sayed abdul Baseer
    February 13, 2012, 4:33 pm

    This video made me very sad

  18. Linda Knowles
    February 10, 2012, 3:22 am

    I acquired a yellow nape amazon parrott in 1991.A rescue. She was banded and i fear smuggled into the US. She was about 5 and i have had her for 21yrs.She is quite the member of our family. She has been the ruler of our kitties and cats.Dogs and their pups.They all had a respect for Bud.She is amusing to say the least.Her best time is spent out under the trees in an extra lg cage,and loves to go shopping for xmas trees.She makes all her ‘jungle noises,and also those learned sentences.” Here kitty,kitty.Answers the phone etc. I had yrs of problems with low dose vitamin A.Treated her each time @ an aviary specialist and the Univ. of Fl.I have been told to fee what we eat,however that wasn’t happening by her. She came to me on a diet of seeds.Thus the low Vit A.It took years to make this conversion,and near death,but we are in the right place for pelletts,for some time. I add other fruits dried and or fresh of mango and coconut etc have been sucessful in the cross-over,Thank God.Without her there would be less humor in our home.Would I ever buy another exotic…..NO.I feel animals should be left to their own environments.Be it mammals,fish,of the sea,Our prides of Lions,Gorillas,& elephants.If man wants to see Nature At It’s Best,follow your heart and travel to where they can be seen.Man is not perfect,with him come the spoils of negligence,and greed. I want to do this for the world.For our children,and the generations to come.At the rate we are going there will be nothing left for posterity.

  19. Myriam Gagnon
    Montréal, Qc
    February 8, 2012, 9:55 am

    Judging by the bright color of their tails, it seems to me that the birds described as Timneh Greys (Psittacus erithacus timneh) near a drinking point (caption) are in fact Congo Greys (Psittacus erithacus erithracus).
    Also, the rosy-faced Lovebirds look a lot more like Fisher’s or Masked Lovebirds, considering the white ring around their eyes and the colouring of their bill.

  20. Myriam Gagnon
    January 31, 2012, 3:43 pm

    Thanks for this enlightning article. I own an hybrid Poicephalus (senegal x rufiventris), born here in Canada, rest assured it will never breed as I do not wish to dilute the species more than it already is (he’s adopted, second hand). I’d rather let Nature do its bidding without my «help». Chester is very endearing despite being shy, but he finally chose me and we bonded strongly. He’s here to stay.
    Now, I mean to ask a favor. I am a professional translator and an active member on a French-speaking parrot forum, whose mission is to inform, educate and share knowledge, all in the interest of parrots’ well-being. We have a small Emagazine on the site and are always looking for interesting articles to publish. So with your permission, I would like to translate and post this article on our Website. Since it already is online, I don’t think there is any copyright issue. Your full credit will be posted too, this goes without saying. Thank you for answering this comment.

  21. S. Bianco
    Northern California, USA
    January 22, 2012, 1:29 am

    What an important article. I appreciate how the researcher involved himself with the animals (climbed the trees; observed their social behavior) instead of just maintaining this artificial remove for “scientific objectivity”.

    I could barely read the entire article and look at all the photos due to the enormous sorrow the information drew from me.

    As a biologist (landscape ecologist) I am aware of the devastation to animals from habitat destruction. As the human slave to three (non-African; captive bred) parrots, I know that these animals can be happy and healthy in a human home but it takes much work and constant learning (info on their needs changes rapidly as more research and knowledge accumulates). I also know that many color-morphs of birds are less hardy and resilient than those of normal morphology.

    Thus, I don’t believe that color morphs are the best way to address the problem of wild-caught parrots. I believe that this is better handled by addressing the entire ecosystem or habitat in which the animal lives and making it worthwhile to locals to protect/conserve that ecosystem so they don’t sell off its pieces.

    Having done much conservation work in Latin America, I know how difficult this is and that it is wrong for foreigners to come in and say “do this/don’t do that” – espec we foreigners who have already sold off all our ecosystem pieces!

    There are models for how such local conservation can be promoted and supported (Dan Janzen in Guanacaste National Park, Costa Rica; that natural area park in Kenya that the Masai own and manage – can’t remember the name – are two examples). Laws about importation need to be strengthened as do laws in the countries of origin regulating wild-capture for any purpose.

    And breeding of parrots for the pet trade also needs to be limited. There are too many parrots in shelters now, many are suitable for adoption and would be a much better choice for humans who wish a parrot in their family.

    Plus, more education on the realities of companion parrots and what it takes to keep them healthy, & happy and how long a commitment this can be (decades!) is critical to ensuring that people cease buying a parrot for room decor.

    There is no one answer but many different measures that need to be implemented so that these and other members of the wild world are saved along with the environment that supports them.

    And of course all this needs to happen a decade ago or more, so we better move fast!

  22. Avin Deen
    January 20, 2012, 2:37 am

    I may sound idealistic but why encourage any form of trade in parrots at all. I understand that it may not be able to stop the pet trade in all forms in all countries anywhere in the near future.
    But considering that there is enough evidence, both anecdotal and published literature showing that both wild caught and captive bred parrots suffer immensely in captivity and are seldom given the lifetime commitment they require by their human caretakers, Conservationists and Conservation organizations should actively discourage people from parrot keeping. So captions like “Senegals make excellent companions” are very deceptive and only send the wrong message. Also the picture of the rosy faced lovebird looks more like a fishers’ lovebird or hybrid.

  23. Michele Roberts
    Cape Town, South Africa
    January 19, 2012, 3:49 pm

    Wonderful article, Steve. My previously abused and rescued Senegal parrot seems quite delighted to have his photograph in your well written article. Breaks my heart to see what happens to wild caught parrots, all in the name of money. I would like to see all parrots fly free, and in my past experience, what you have done for the Cape Parrot Project is outstanding. Someone has to save the special birds, the Cape Parrots, along with all the rest. Well done, once again on a very informative and well presented article.

  24. […] The World's Most Traded Wild Birds? Senegal Parrots, color morphs, and the … These are the parrots that the commercial traders and exporters did not want. All will die if they are not purchased and sometimes business is slow… “The only Senegal Parrots I saw in Senegal were a pair of wild caughts for sale at the side of a road … Read more on National Geographic […]

  25. Eric Beauchamp
    January 17, 2012, 2:52 pm

    Behind The Parrot Zoo (Animal cruelty) help us fight the cruelty, please share this video! TY!!