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Exotic birds take flight

Regional council biosecurity officer, Ashlee Lawrence, with some Indian ring-necked parakeets similar to escaped pet birds, which are becoming an issue for biosecurity officials in the north

After at least eight reported exotic bird escapes recently, the Northland Regional Council is asking people to report any sightings of Indian ring-necked parakeets, rainbow lorikeets or sulphur-crested cockatoos in the wild.

Council biosecurity manager, Don McKenzie, says the exotic aviary species threaten native bird populations by competing for food, taking nesting places and introducing diseases. The recent escapes coincide with this year’s breeding season.

“Lorikeets and parakeets can also become significant agricultural pests of some cereal and fruit crops,” said Mr McKenzie.

“These birds are good breeders and can establish populations quite quickly, so it’s important to act fast before they breed and spread to other areas. We need people to tell us if they have seen them or had any escapes as soon as possible, and we’ll do our best to retrieve them or locate their owners,” he says.

Mr McKenzie says all three species are commonly held in captivity in New Zealand and are listed as unwanted organisms by the Ministry for Primary Industries. They are also considered exclusion animals under the Northland Regional Pest and Marine Pathways Management Plan 2017–2027.

He says anyone who sees one of these exotic birds at large, should phone the regional council on 0800 002 004.

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