Status and distribution of the Black-cheeked Lovebird, Zambia
Publication Year:
A survey of the Black-cheeked Lovebird Agapornis nigrigenis in 1994 resulted in much new information. About 10 000 live in mopane Colophospermum mopane woodland in south-west Zambia. They are localised with a high dependence on mopane woodland with permanent standing water. Some birds may also occur in the eastern part of Namibia's Caprivi strip, in the northern tip of Botswana and in the western tip of Zimbabwe. However, its status here is confused by the presence of feral lovebirds of more than one species. The core distribution is a disjointed belt of mopane woodland between the Zambezi and Kafue rivers. The distribution outside the dry season is wider and allied to the availability of ripening crops close to patches of mopane woodland or riverine forest. The total area of mopane woodland utilised is approximately 4 550 km2. The habitat is dynamic, reflecting gradual desiccation in the area. There are less permanent water sources available now than earlier this century and distribution has been affected by the successive drying up of a number of ephemeral rivers. Low availability of water in the dry season has probably been the principal factor causing lovebirds to desert the Bovu and Sinde rivers. Lovebirds are well-known by local people as they descend on crops, notably sorghum and millets. The general transition of these crops to maize in the second half of this century may have had an earlier impact on lovebird numbers and distribution. There was extensive trapping between the 1920s and 1960s, principally for the pet bird trade. This trade is uncommon now, though a few isolated incidences occur. Lovebirds are still trapped for food and some are killed as pests, but these activities probably have no serious long-term impacts on the population at present trapping levels.
Publication Title:
Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology
Item Type:
Journal Article