Nest boxes for Cape Parrots Poicephalus robustus in the Hogsback area, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Breeding propensity of tree-cavity nesting bird species are often limited by a shortage of natural nesting sites. Artificial nests can be used to provide alternative nest sites. Cape Parrots Poicephalus robustus are nationally endangered and nest in existing tree-cavities in high-altitude fragmented Afromontane forests in South Africa, assumed to be in short supply due to historic and current logging practices. To increase nest site availability, 179 wooden bird boxes and 28 bee boxes (to ‘pull’ bees) were erected during 2011–2012 in Hogsback, Eastern Cape. In 2016, no bird boxes were occupied by Cape Parrots. A total of 43% were used by other species, 51% were unused and 6% could not be inspected due to tree instability and inaccessibility. Two bird boxes were inspected by two pairs of Cape Parrots, but were never occupied. Occupancy of boxes by birds was not associated with nest, tree or habitat characteristics. However, occupancy of boxes by bees was associated with habitat type and tree species. Future conservation efforts will include locating natural Cape Parrot nesting sites and reforestation efforts to ensure the long-term availability of natural nesting sites.