Two exotic Alexandrine parakeets, who were once pets, have been spotted breeding in the south of Adelaide causing concern for the state’s biosecurity.

A close-up of an Alexandrine parakeet. Credit: Paweł Sędrowski from Flickr.

Green Adelaide encourages everyone across the state to report wild sightings of Alexandrine parakeets to the National Pest Alert Hotline to help capture these birds and reunite them with their owners.

Green Adelaide ecologist Jason Van Weenen said that though they are beautiful big green parrots, they do pose a serious threat in the wild to our local and the wider Australian native bird populations, and our state’s agricultural industry.

“Alexandrine parakeets are a highly invasive species, and are known for taking over tree hollows from our native birds, plus can spread the deadly beak and feather disease to our parrots,” Mr Van Weenen said.

“They also feed on valuable fruit and seed crops causing costly damage to our agricultural industry.

“This is the first report of Alexandrine parakeets on the loose in Adelaide breeding, so we need to capture this new bird family quick to prevent a chain of consequences to our environment.”

Green Adelaide is working with skilled ornithologists (i.e. bird experts) at the University of Adelaide and other stakeholders to find this pair of parakeets, safely catch them, and return them to captivity.

An Alexandrine parakeets in the wild. Credit: Hari K Patibanda from Flickr.

University of Adelaide PhD student Katherine Hill from the Invasion Science and Wildlife Ecology Lab said that when deciding to adopt an Alexandrine parakeet as a pet, potential owners must ensure their cage is secure to prevent potentially detrimental damage to the local environment.

“If you see an Alexandrine parakeet in the wild call the National Pest Alert Hotline to report your sighting immediately,” Ms Hill said.

“Alexandrine parakeets have a large distinctive red beak, are about the size of a galah, and their feathers are usually green, but they are known to come in blue and yellow.

“It’s extremely important that sightings of these birds are reported before they establish in the wild. Early detection will help prevent them breeding in the wild, and also reunite them with their worried owners.”

Invasive animals as well as plants cost Australia around $25 billion a year. You can report sightings of the Alexandrine parakeet to the National Pest Alert Hotline on 1800 084 881, and remember to record the date, location, species and number of birds spotted. Alexandrine parakeets are native to South Asia.

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