Working for birds in Africa

A reassessment of the conservation status of Prince Ruspoli's Turaco Tauraco ruspolii

p 104-111

Summary. Prince Ruspoli's Turaco Tauraco ruspolii is endemic to southern Ethiopia, where its range may be smaller than 8,000 km2. Although the species was reported to be common in 1995, field work carried out in 2001 suggested that its conservation status might be worsening. In February 2003 we visited four localities (Negele, Genale, Kibre Mengist and Arero) within the species' range. Although Prince Ruspoli's Turaco was still present at all localities, a dramatic habitat degradation had taken place since 1995. Agricultural expansion was the main problem in the north of the area, whilst overgrazing and uncontrolled bushfires were more important in the south. Illegal felling of trees was widespread, especially near the largest human settlements. White-cheeked Turaco T. leucotis seemed to have expanded its range, encroaching upon that of Prince Ruspoli's Turaco, and hybrids of the two species appeared to be widespread in edge areas. Attempts by local authorities to conserve forest habitats have largely failed due to chronic lack of resources. Conservation measures are urgently needed, but the present socio-economic situation is not favourable to the implementation of such measures.

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