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The Working Group on Psittaciformes


The Working Group on Psittaciformes (parrots and cockatoos) – its Roles

The Working Group Psittaciformes (WGP) from the International Ornithologist's Union (IOU) started as the Parrot Researchers Group (PRG) during the 25th International Ornithological Conference (Brazil). The group was appointed WGP of the IOU in 2013. The mission of this group is:

  • Promoting parrot research,
  • Establishing research needs and priorities, with particular attention to regional conservation strategies,
  • Identifying barriers to effective research and conservation of parrots,
  • Identifying solutions to the barriers mentioned in point 3.

The WGP is characterised by a regional approach, being organised in 5 regions (Africa, Australasia, Caribbean, Continental Neotropics, and Indo-Malayan), an Urban Parrot Section, and a Secretary Office that coordinates joint work. The Co-ordinators of the regions and sections and the Secretary are elected by all members every four years. According to the Statutes and By-Laws of the IOU, two IOU fellows, Prof. Dr. Dominique G Homberger (zodhomb@lsu.edu) and Dr Juan F. Masello, have been appointed Chairs of the WGP by the IOU President.

Since 2010, discussions, exchange of advice, and the coordination of joint projects have been carried out through an online forum: (http://psittaciformes.internationalornithology.org/). To join in the conversation, please review the welcome message on the Psittaciformes forum.

Each of the WGP regions and the Secretary Office are focusing their efforts on specific regional and global projects.

African region

Co-ordination committee: Dr. Rowan Martin (rowan.o.martin@gmail.com), Prof. Dr. Mike Perrin (Perrin@ukzn.ac.za), M. Phil. Zool. Nathaniel Annorbah (nd.annorbah@gmail.com), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Craig Symes (Craig.Symes@wits.ac.za)

The first part of the review of research and conservation for African parrots carried out during 2012-2014 is now available in our virtual library and in the Ostrich special issue on parrots (http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/tost20/current#.VK1iucZbrHM ) which was co-edited by members of the WGP. This region has three current aims: 1) further work on the regional update of the Parrot Action Plan (PAP), this time including a review of research and conservation priorities for African and Malagasy lovebirds: Genus Agapornis; 2) greater representation of the literature on African parrots in the WGP library; 3) to increase links with other groups working in Africa.

Australasian region

Co-coordinators: Prof. Dr. Rob Heinsohn (Robert.Heinsohn@anu.edu.au), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jörn Theuerkauf (jtheuer@miiz.waw.pl)

This region is working on a review paper analysing the factors endangering birds in the region, focusing on evaluating the consequences of climate change on habitat loss and invasive species.

Caribbean region

Coordinator: Dr. Sam Williams (sam@echobonaire.org)

Several projects are focusing in: a) rehabilitation, nest monitoring and reforestation on Bonaire (Yellow-shouldered Amazon), b) endangered wild population management (Puerto Rican amazon), c) rehabilitation and release of Hispaniolan parrots and Hispaniolan conures rescued from the illegal pet trade, d) year-round tracking of released birds, e) initiating a third reintroduction of Puerto Rican amazon, f) monitoring and placement of artificial nests.

Continental Neotropics region

Co-ordinators: Dr. Igor Berkunsky (iberkunsky@parrots.org), Ass. Prof. Dr. Donald Brightsmith (DBrightsmith@cvm.tamu.edu), MSc. Martín Lezama López (nicapinol2002@yahoo.com)

This region aims to complete the regional update of current threats faced by Neotropical parrots, through questionnaires sent to all relevant parties and the production of a review paper.

Indo-Malayan region

Co-ordinator: MSc. Avinandan (avianwing@gmail.com)

This region aims to 1) increase membership from this region; 2) get more literature on Indo-Malayan parrots into the WGP virtual library; 3) look out for funding opportunities to fund research work on parrots, particularly lesser known and declining species like the Nicobar parakeet (Psittacula caniceps), Lord Derby’s parakeet (P. derbiana) or Blue-rumped Parrot (Psittinus cyanurus) and also more widespread species like the Alexandrine parakeet (P. eupatria).

Urban parrot section

Co-ordinators: MSc. Roelant Jonker (director@cityparrots.org), Prof. of Research Dr. José L. Tella (tella@ebd.csic.es), MSc. Michael Braun (michibraun@gmx.de)

Current aims for this region are to 1) increase understanding of the establishment, diversity and population dynamics of introduced and native parrot populations through our global parrot count, 2) get insights in the genetic make-up and adaptations of these populations in response to live in the new, often urban, landscapes, 3) apply ecological niche modelling to gain insight in the alien invasive potential of these populations and manage real or perceived agricultural conflicts. Additionally, we are planning to educate the public on these populations on a continuous and scientific basis.

Secretarial office

Secretary: Dr. Juan F. Masello (juan.f.masello@bio.uni-giessen.de)

This section coordinates two worldwide projects: 1) the study of the presence of hemoparasites across wild Psittaciformes from all over the world, 2) the study of the influence of El Niño Southern Oscillation on the breeding biology of Psittaciformes worldwide. The secretary office has also been working on the creation and maintenance of a virtual library. The library, available to all WGP members has been managed by Dr. Soledad Díaz (jisdiaz@gmail.com) and Dr. Carlos de Araújo (cabarau@gmail.com) our current and former librarians. Additionally, job adverts are distributed through the WGP e-group on a weekly basis. A google form with detailed information on the expertise of WGP members is under way.

Grupo de Interés Temático de Psitácidos (Sociedad Mesoamericana para la Biología y la Conservación)

Liason: MSc. Martín Lezama-López (nicapinol2002@yahoo.com)

Since 2010, the WGP closely co-operates with this independent group, particularly in the update of current threats faced by Neotropical parrots.

Coordinating Committee Members for 2014 – 2018

Dr. Juan F. Masello, Secretary, Germany: juan.f.masello@bio.uni-giessen.de

Avinandan (Indo-Malayan region); Dr. Igor Berkunsky (Neotropics), Michael Braun (urban regions), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Donald Brightsmith (Neotropics), Prof. Dr. Rob Heinsohn (Australasia), Prof. Dr. Dominique Homberger (Australasia), Roelant Jonker (urban regions), Martin Lezama López (Neotropics), Dr. Rowan Martin (Africa), Prof. Dr. Mike Perrin (Africa), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Craig Symes (Africa), Prof. Dr. José L. Tella (urban regions), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jörn Theuerkauf (Australasia), Dr. Sam Williams (Caribbean region)

Selected pieces by Psittaciformes members

Is the Grey Parrot doomed for extinction in Ghana? by Nathaniel Annorbah
The Relative Ethics of Keeping Birds, Particularly Parrots in Cages in Comparison to Other Forms of Animal Husbandry by Avinandan
On the conservation of cages by Dr. Carlos B. de Araújo

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