Kindly study Dr Hanneline Smit-Robinson's request below and consider participating in the monitoring of European Rollers in our region. We receive some reports of these birds in the Overberg during summer months, so kindly assist.
Dear Bird Club chairs and members
We are writing to you in connection with a long-term programme that we are establishing to monitor European Rollers on their southern African non-breeding grounds, and would like to invite your members to participate in this programme. This programme is endorsed by BirdLife South Africa and we will sign up as BirdLife Species Guardians under the Preventing Extinctions Programme.
As you may know, European Rollers are currently classified as globally Near Threatened, and their numbers have declined by as much as 20-30% over the last decade. Although there is a very active network of research and conservation organisations monitoring rollers across their breeding range in Europe, very little is known about their migratory routes and non-breeding grounds in southern Africa. We would therefore like to set up a network of people who would be willing to work with us in trying to fill this knowledge gap, and piece together a fuller story of these remarkable birds in southern Africa. This information would then be shared with the international European Roller conservation network, and hopefully contribute towards the more effective long-term conservation of the species.
We are aware that in many areas within their range in South Africa it certainly doesn’t seem as though European Rollers are even close to Near Threatened, as they are frequently seen adorning trees and telephone poles in relative abundance! However, their numbers are dropping dramatically in Europe and changes in their numbers in southern Africa are unknown.
Such changes, as well as changes in arrival and departure dates of birds, can only really be assessed if they are monitored. We are hoping to appeal to Birdlife members to help us build up some of this vital baseline data that will allow us to monitor these changes over time. Contact Helene Loon (contact details below) for a more detailed outline of the activities that we will be setting up, and would like to encourage members who have the time and enthusiasm, to get involved if they can.
We look forward to hearing from you, and would be happy to provide any extra information or details that may be needed.
email@example.com, cell: 084 8114327
Dr Hanneline Smit-Robinson
Manager: Terrestrial Bird Conservation Programme/Oppenheimer Fellow of Conservation
BirdLife South Africa