With the long history of introduced species threatening the viability of our native species, it is critical that we prevent any new species getting established. We hear about myrtle rust, didymo and painted apple moths, but birds can be a threat too.
Biosecurity NZ works hard to eliminate any newly introduced species. Some arrive as vagrants (mostly from Australia), while others are released pet birds (mostly parrots). Some see released pet birds as the second wave of acclimatisation after the ‘Europeanisation’ of the Aotearoa in the late nineteenth century.
If you see any of these, please report them immediately by calling the Pest and Disease Hotline (0800 80 99 66) with as much detail as you can gather – location, number, time of sighting, direction of flight, what they were doing, and colouring. Also take photos. They may ask you to send them.
Here are a few birds we don’t want.
Indian ring-necked parakeets (also known as rose-ringed parakeets) are commonly kept as caged birds but sometimes escape (or are intentionally released). When feral they threaten our native birds and bats by:
- competing for food
- taking nesting places
- introducing diseases.
They’re also well-known agricultural pests of cereal and fruit crops. And they are known to nest in and cause damage to city buildings.
A population was spotted near St Luke’s shopping centre in September 2019 and Biosecurity NZ, DOC and Auckland Council are trying to remove them from the wild humanely. For the latest, check out the Indian ring-necked parakeet Biosecurity page.
Rainbow lorikeets are Aussie interlopers which look similar to the now-established eastern Rosella (though they have a blue head). They’re a popular, and legal, caged bird. Some were illegally released in the 1990s around Auckland and soon established a feral population of 150–200, showing that they are well adapted to the New Zealand environment, where they compete with native species (such as tūī, korimako / bellbird and hihi / stitchbird) for food and nesting sites.
If you own one, keep it caged and get it banded. If you see one in the wild, contact Biosecurity NZ.
These Asian birds crop up in Auckland from time to time possibly having stowed away on ships from Australia, where they are established. After sightings, biosecurity teams typically swing into action to eradicate them as they can cause significant damage to fruit and vegetable crops and are known to chase and attack other birds.
Fortunately they are fairly easy to spot. According to DOC “They are a medium-sized bird, around 20 centimetres in length, about the size of a starling. They have a black head, a dark back, grey-white belly, and a distinctive crimson-red patch beneath their tail.”
If you see something with a flash of red under the tail, contact Biosecurity NZ straight away.