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Keep an eye and ear out for the red-vented bulbul

Keep an eye and ear out for the red-vented bulbul

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27 Oct 21 Biosecurity News

Keep an eye and ear out for the red-vented bulbul

Spring has arrived and it’s the perfect time of year to identify any red-vented bulbul birds which may have flown into your area.

This invasive, small bird is an unwanted pest that has fortunately not yet established in New Zealand, but has been occasionally detected. Over the last two years a few birds have been found in Auckland and a single bird has been found in Te Puke.

It’s known to cause considerable damage to fruit and vegetable crops and is a potential pest to kiwifruit. It also attacks other birds.

Identifiable characteristics of the red-vented bulbul:
- Small to medium sized (larger than a sparrow, but smaller than a blackbird)
- Around 20cm in length
- Dark brown/black in colour with a light coloured belly and the distinctive crimson-red patch beneath the tail
- Black head with a small peaked crest
- Makes repetitive and distinct calls.

The red-vented bulbul is native to Pakistan and parts of China, and has established in several Pacific Islands. Evidence suggests they may spread to new land masses onboard sea vessels.

Read the latest fact sheet to learn more or visit the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) website to listen to the red-vented bulbul’s distinctive call.

If you think you have seen or heard this bird, or any other unusual pest or disease, contact the MPI exotic pest and disease hotline on 0800 80 99 66.


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