Non-indigenous Bird Management Policy
Key points for bird keepers
- All captive bird species declared as regulated pest animals can continue to be kept and traded in Victoria.
- All privately kept non-indigenous bird species are not affected by the declarations and can continue to be kept.
- The policy and associated declarations enable the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) to take all reasonable steps to prevent and manage incursions of exotic species in Victoria as part of its duty.
- The non-indigenous bird management policy and associated declarations aim to reduce the impact some bird species will make in Victoria should they escape captivity and become established in the wild.
- The Australian Government is responsible for national border biosecurity and oversees the species of animals that may be brought into the country. Potential changes to the list of bird species that can be imported into Australia will not impact the bird species currently kept or bred in Victoria.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is this new Non-indigenous Bird Management Policy?
In consultation with key stakeholders and in line with DEPI's broader principles for managing invasive plants and animals, a new risk-based approach to the management of non-indigenous birds in Victoria has been developed.
Under this policy, some bird species are declared as Prohibited, Controlled, Regulated or Established pest animals under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 (CaLP Act). The declarations enable DEPI to manage species that are, or have the potential to be, a threat to primary production, Crown land, the environment or community health in Victoria.
The policy and declarations aim to reduce the impact some bird species will make in Victoria should they escape captivity and become established in the wild. They do not affect individual birds privately kept.
Why is there a need for a non-indigenous bird management policy?
Until now, there was no policy for the management of non-indigenous bird incursions nor were any birds declared as pest animals under the CaLP Act. Non-indigenous bird species can have significant impacts to Victoria's environment, primary production, human health and social amenity. Examples include loss of horticultural and other crop production, risk to aviation safety and threat to native bird species.
This policy is guided by Victoria's Biosecurity Strategy and the Invasive Plants and Animals Policy Framework to outline how non-indigenous birds will be managed in Victoria. The approach is also consistent with those in the national Guidelines for the Import, Movement and Keeping of Non-indigenous Vertebrates in Australia (external link).
Has there been any consultation?
Public consultation on the proposed policy for the management of non-indigenous birds in Victoria was undertaken in 2013. Following that, DEPI released a discussion paper on the development of a proposed risk-based policy approach to the management of non-indigenous birds in Victoria. DEPI also conducted a series of workshops and a webinar for key stakeholders prior to incorporating stakeholder feedback and finalising the policy. In 2014, stakeholders had an opportunity to comment on the list of bird species proposed to be declared under the CaLP Act.
Will there be any change to current bird keeping activities?
No, current private bird keeping activities will not be affected. The non-indigenous bird management policy allows the government to manage certain bird species should they escape captivity.
Under the policy, there will be no additional limitation or regulation of the private keeping or trading of non-indigenous birds that is currently occurring in Victoria. This means all privately kept non-indigenous bird species can continue to be kept in Victoria.There is an ongoing expectation of bird keepers to undertake responsible pet ownership and domestic animal management. Bird keepers are also expected to continue to adhere to all relevant codes of practice and guidelines, such as the Code of Practice for the Housing of Caged Birds.
Why has the government declared certain bird species as pest animals?
In accordance with the principles of the non-indigenous bird management policy, bird species that pose an extreme or serious risk1 to environmental, economic and social values within Australia can be declared under the CALP Act.
By declaring certain non-indigenous bird species under the CaLP Act, DEPI can manage these to protect Victoria from associated negative impacts such as loss of horticultural and other crop production, reduced amenity value in urban areas, risk to aviation safety and threats to environmental values.
Which species are have been declared?
In October 2014, the Governor-in-Council declared nineteen species of non-indigenous birds under the CaLP Act:
- One species (the House Crow) as a prohibited pest animal. House Crows are not found in Australia and we do not want them in Victoria. The House Crow is a major pest of agriculture and is known to raid crops such as wheat, maize and sunflower. It can cause severe damage to vegetables and fruit crops including mango, guava, pawpaw, fig, apple, pear, grape and stone fruits. It can also attack and kill poultry, new-born calves and kid goats. In some countries the House Crow is considered a major pest of the environment, preying on the chicks and eggs of native birds, destroying nests and harassing birds and other animals.
- Two species as controlled pest animals (the Greater Flamingo and the Greater Rhea). These species can be kept in Victoria, but only in high security collections, i.e. zoological parks.
- The feral and wild populations of 16 non-indigenous birds species as regulated pest animals (Egyptian Goose, Canada Goose, African Collared-dove, Northern Bobwhite, Red Avadavat, Common Waxbill, Tricoloured Munia, Java Sparrow, Red-cheeked Cordonbleu, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Peach-faced Lovebird, Monk Parakeet, Nanday Parakeet, Alexandrine Parakeet, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Ostrich). Note: the captive populations of these species are not declared, meaning these 16 species can continue to be kept and traded in Victoria.
No species of birds have been declared as established pest animals.
The full declaration list is available on the Victoria's consolidated lists of declared noxious weeds and pest animals page.
Do all the species on the list pose a real risk?
Yes, if they become established in the wild. Victoria has agreed to manage risk in accordance with the principles and processes outlined in the nationally endorsed Guidelines for the Import, Movement and Keeping of Non-indigenous Vertebrates in Australia (external link).
The desired outcome is to minimise potential damage to primary production, the environment and public safety resulting from the release or escape and establishment of wild populations of non-indigenous vertebrates, including birds, in Australia.
The Invasive Plants and Animals Committee, previously known as the Vertebrate Pests Committee (VPC) endorsed the non-indigenous bird species on the list to be posing an extreme or serious risk to Australia.
How was the proposed list of bird species developed?
The list is based on the following:
- DEPI Non-indigenous Bird Management Policy
- scientific literature
- risk assessments
- the VPC Australian List of Threat Categories of Non-indigenous Vertebrates and updates
- independent expert opinion
- consultation with key stakeholders
- legislative requirements under the CaLP Act and Subordinate Legislation Act 1994
- economic value of the species.
How will the list be used?
DEPI has the duty and ability to manage birds on the list that are free from captivity and/or in the wild. Each report of a bird(s) in the wild will be assessed and treated on a case by case basis. Private keepers keeping a bird of the listed species will not be affected. The list simply allows DEPI to manage such birds that are in the wild, in order to protect farming, the environment and the community.
Are there any further proposed changes to non-indigenous bird management in Victoria?
No, there are no proposed changes. If changes were considered necessary, the government is legally required to consult with any sector of the public on which a significant burden may be imposed by a proposed statutory rule or legislative instrument, before proceeding.
Can I still keep and trade birds whose feral and wild populations are declared as regulated pest animals?
Yes. You can continue to keep and trade the bird species whose feral and wild populations have been declared as regulated pest animals. This is because the captive populations of these species are not declared. There will be no additional limitation or regulation of the private keeping or trading of non-indigenous birds imposed on bird keepers in Victoria. These species can continue to be kept and traded within Victoria and interstate (if interstate laws allow).
However, you are not allowed to keep or trade birds declared as prohibited pest animals (House Crows). You are also not allowed to keep birds declared as controlled pest animals (Greater Flamingos and Greater Rheas), unless they are in approved high security collections.
Why is the Victorian Government not taking action on established pest birds as such the Indian myna?
It is not reasonable to impose the lawful responsibility to control widely established bird species upon landowners when it is highly unlikely to result in overall population management. Problem birds or flocks could be managed at the discretion of landowners in accordance with other relevant legislation, such as animal welfare. DEPI will continue to support community-led action for the management of these species in the wild, where appropriate.
The Government does not implement any specific programs or schemes to control Indian mynas, for example, as there are no practical means available for the broad-scale control of these birds. However, the DEPI recognises the impacts of this species and will continue discussing humane control methods for this species with stakeholders, particularly how such techniques can be applied effectively and safely by community groups.
 Species are endorsed as being an extreme or serious pest by The Invasive Plants and Animals Committee, previously known as the Vertebrate Pests Committee (VPC)