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Monk parakeet

Native to South America, the monk parakeet is a popular cage bird around the world. It has escaped captivity and established feral populations in numerous countries. It is a significant pest in Florida, USA, where its large, communal nests cause millions of dollars of damage to electricity infrastructure.

Currently, wild populations are absent from Queensland. However, this species is privately kept here and, if enough birds escaped or were released, it could present a high risk of pest establishment.

The monk parakeet is not a prohibited or restricted invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Myopsitta monachus

Other names

  • Quaker parrot, grey-headed parakeet

Description

  • Green-grey parrot, with body about 30cm long, weight around 100g for males and often 10-20% smaller for females.
  • Wingspan is around 48cm.

Habitat

  • Prefers warm temperate and subtropical climates.
  • In its native range, prefers open forest, open woodland, savanna, acacia scrubland, farmland, orchards and watercourses.

Distribution

  • Wild populations are currently absent from Queensland but captive birds are present.

Life cycle

  • Usually nests once per year.
  • Uses sticks to builds large, communal nests with many individual chambers.
  • Lays 5-12 eggs, hatching in approximately 24 days.

Crops affected

  • Various grain and citrus crops.

Affected animals

  • Native birds

Impacts

Environmental

  • Could out-compete native species for resources.

Economic

  • Raids grain crops and orchards.
  • Large nests can damage electricity infrastructure.

Social

  • Potential to be urban nuisance with fouling from large nests.

Control

  • Early detection is essential for preventing pest establishment. If you have seen a monk parakeet in the wild please contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

Legal requirements

  • Monk parakeet is not a prohibited or restricted invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014. However, by law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control.
  • Local governments must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants and animals in their area. This plan may include actions to be taken on certain species. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local government for more information.
  • The monk parakeet is recognised as a "domestic bird" under the Nature Conservation (Wildlife Management) Regulation 2006.
  • The Nature Conservation (Wildlife Management) Regulation 2006 requires that:

    • A person must keep a monk parakeet in a secure cage
    • and
    • A person must not release into the wild a monk parakeet that has been bred or kept in captivity.

Further information