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PAPER (breeding): Red-billed Quelea breeding record

2015-09-15 (668)

PAPER (breeding): Red-billed Quelea breeding record

phown 17
Red-billed Quelea nests near Worcester
Oschadleus HD. 2015. First Red-billed Quelea breeding record in the winter rainfall region of South Africa. Ostrich online.

The Red-billed Quelea Quelea quelea is a serious pest of agricultural crops throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa. Since the 1980s, it has expanded its range into the Eastern Cape and Western Cape, South Africa, facilitated by changes in agricultural practices. This note documents the first breeding of Red-billed Quelea in the winter rainfall region of South Africa. A colony of 350–600 nests was found, with evidence of recent breeding. Red-billed Quelea numbers were low in this region, but if numbers increase in the future in the Western Cape, winter crops could be under threat.

A colony of the Red-billed Quelea was found on Nuwerus farm, near Worcester, at the end of its breeding cycle in April 2009. This is the first breeding record of the species in the winter rainfall region, a mere 120 km from Cape Town. The Red-billed Quelea did not occur in the Western Cape 25 years ago (although there was one vagrant record from 1946), and is already well established in the Beaufort West area.

See details of the breeding record in PHOWN.

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