Date: 27 September 2013 Source: Office of the Minister of Conservation
Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith is calling on Aucklanders to keep an eye out for one of the most invasive bird species in the world to help eradicate the pests.
“The red-vented bulbul with its aggressive nature poses a real risk to our native birds like the kereru. They also cause significant damage to fruit and vegetable crops and spread seeds of invasive weeds,” Dr Smith says.
“We think there are at least five Asian red-vented bulbuls in Auckland and that they arrived by ship or yacht. These prolific breeders have been found in Auckland twice before and we need to act fast to ensure they don’t have time to make themselves at home.
“We need continued help from the public to track these birds and eradicate them. The birds are easy to spot. They are a medium-sized bird, about 20 centimetres long, with a black head, a dark back, grey-white belly, and a distinctive crimson-red patch beneath their tail. They also have a very distinctive call, unlike other birds you normally hear around Auckland.”
Red-vented bulbuls are confirmed to be located in three clusters: south Auckland (Manurewa/Alfriston), west Auckland (Henderson/Te Atatu/Massey), and on Auckland’s North Shore (Devonport/Belmont/Takapuna). There have also been possible sightings on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula.
Red-vented bulbuls are listed as an unwanted organism under the Biosecurity Act 1993. DOC is working in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries and Auckland Council to eradicate them.
“People who think they have spotted a red-vented bulbul should contact MPI’s free Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline on 0800 80 99 66, as well as taking photos of the birds,” Dr Smith says.
“It’s vital we get sightings from the public as soon as possible as they’ll become harder to spot as spring advances and leaves return to trees.”
Rachael Bruce, +64 21 841 087