Introduced birds

Introduced birds in Australia are those species that have been transported to an area in which they do not normally occur. These do not include summer migrants to our shores and inland waters, as these have been regular visitors over a long period of time but do not make Australia their permanent home. However, they do include Australian species that have been introduced to places in Australia where they did not previously occur, e.g. Rainbow Lorikeets in Perth.

How did these birds get here?

It is precisely because birds can fly that they are able to colonise new areas, but great distances and geographical barriers such as Australia's surrounding waters normally keep out non-migratory bird species. However, many birds were introduced by early European settlers for various reasons: as pest controllers, pets, sport, and to remind them of 'home'. For example, the Common Myna was originally introduced into the cane fields of north-eastern Queensland in 1883, to combat insect pests, particularly plague locusts and cane beetles. Other birds may have arrived by accident, as 'hitchhikers' on board ships.

Are introduced birds a bad thing?

Some introduced birds have become major pests, and compete with native species for resources such as space, food or nest sites (e.g. Common Myna). Some are also great nuisances to humans: nesting in and around buildings, causing mess - acidic bird droppings can eat into sandstone and other building materials - and spreading parasites such as bird mites (e.g. Common Starling, Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon). Other species have not managed to penetrate far beyond their original release sites and remain only in limited urban areas (e.g. the European Song Thrush, which is confined to Melbourne and Geelong).

How can we discourage them?

  • Plant for native birds: most introduced birds thrive in association with lawns and buildings, so reducing lawn area by planting native trees and shrubs makes your property less attractive to introduced species (and more attractive to native species).
  • Reduce exotic, berry-producing plants: these often attract exotic birds such as Common Blackbirds and Red-whiskered Bulbuls.
  • Secure roof spaces, thereby reducing potential nest or roost sites: for birds such as Common Starlings and Common Mynas that like to use cavities.

Related information

Some Introduced birds include:

Scientific Name: Turdus merula
Scientific Name: Acridotheres tristis
Scientific Name: Sturnus vulgaris
Scientific Name: Alauda arvensis
Scientific Name: Carduelis carduelis
Scientific Name: Passer domesticus
Scientific Name: Streptopelia senegalensis
Scientific Name: Anas platyrhynchos
Scientific Name: Lonchura punctulata
Scientific Name: Pycnonotus jocosus
Scientific Name: Columba livia
Scientific Name: Streptopelia chinensis
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