Ringneck Parakeets – What you need to know
After the news that Ringneck Parakeets are now a NEMBA Category 2 Invasive Species, there were widespread commotion, confusion and lots of questions from Ringneck keepers and breeders.
A Global Problem
All around the globe these parakeets have now been labelled as an invasive species. Across the globe they are seen as the most invasive parrot species!
To mention but a few:
The Seychelles were apparently the first country ever to protect its endemic birds by successfully eradicating Ringnecks. According to the SIF (Seychelles Islands Foundation), it is thought that the last known Ringneck was shot last year. Eradication programs were implemented from as early as 2003. (Read the full article here.)
Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources also reported the Ringnecks as an invasive species. Besides the seed companies, farmers and gardeners, even the home and business owners lodged complaints about Ringnecks. In short, the destruction to fruit trees and crops were not the only problem these parakeets caused. Because their droppings contaminate and could carry diseases, entire crops are discarded as being an unsafe food source. Consequently, in this article – Thousands of Birds Causing Ecological and Economic Damage – the Ringneck Parakeets are viewed as an “efficient winged army” causing major ecological and economical damage.
Rose-ringed Parakeets are considered to be an invasive non-native species in the UK as well – even though it has been first recorded in 1855. Inside Ecology discusses various study results of the impact of Ringnecks in the UK in their article (full article here). Incidentally, it appears as if their population growth has been limited by the climate of the areas they have populated.
Ringnecks are now on the South African list of Alien and Invasive Species of NEMBA (The National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act) as well. Above all, owners and breeders must now have a permit to keep, breed, trade and transport Ringneck parakeets. (Read more in this article)
A more complete description of the Rose-ringed parakeet, including its history and pictures can be found on the Invasive Species South Africa website.
Why are they considered a problem?
There are many reasons why the Ringneck is seen as a problem, but it can be summarized as follows:
- Ringnecks can be very noisy;
- They can cause large-scale damage to crops that can lead to financial losses in the agricultural industry;
- Across the globe, agricultural and ecological damage are caused by Ringnecks;
- Poultry, native fauna and even humans can be harmed by the diseases the parakeets may carry;
- Indigenous species now have to compete for nesting space (When Ringnecks fight, the blood flows! And they usually fight to death, as many breeders can testify);
- The Ringneck tend to aggressively monopolize the food resources which means native species now need to compete for their food;
- Another problem to consider, is the fact that Ringnecks have been very popular in the pet industry. That escalates the possibility that just a few occasional escapees can start a wild population.
To be continued…