Biological Invasions

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 1273–1284 | Cite as

Improved surveillance for early detection of a potential invasive species: the alien Rose-ringed parakeet Psittacula krameri in Australia

  • Miquel Vall-llosera
  • Andrew P. Woolnough
  • Dean Anderson
  • Phillip Cassey
Original Paper


The Rose-ringed parakeet Psittacula krameri is the most widely introduced parrot in the world, and is an important agricultural pest and competitor with native wildlife. In Australia, it is classified as an ‘extreme threat’, yet captive individuals frequently escape into the wild. The distribution and frequency of incursions are currently unknown, as are the potential impacts of the species in Australia. This lack of critical ecological information greatly limits effective biosecurity surveillance and decision-making efforts. We compiled a unique dataset, which combined passive surveillance sources from government and online resources, for all available information on parakeet detections at-large in Australia. We investigated whether geographic variables successfully predicted parakeet incursions, and used species distribution models to assess the potential distribution and economic impacts on agricultural assets. We recorded 864 incursions for the period 1999–2013; mostly escaped birds reported to missing animal websites. Escapes were reported most frequently within, or around, large cities. Incursions were best predicted by factors related to human presence and activity, such as global human footprint and intensive land uses. We recommend surveillance of high (predicted) establishment areas adjacent to cities where a feral parakeet population could most affect horticultural production. Novel passive surveillance datasets combined with species distribution models can be used to identify the regions where potential invasive species are most likely to establish. Subsequently, active surveillance can be targeted to the areas of highest predicted potential risk. We recommend an integrated approach that includes outreach programs involving local communities, as well as traditional biosecurity surveillance, for detecting new incursions.


Biosecurity Economic impact Online resources Pet trade Propagule pressure Species distribution modelling 



We wish to thank Birdlife Australia and the authors and contributors of the Atlas of Australian Birds, the Atlas of Living Australia, the Birding-Aus forum and the Australian Rescue and Rehoming Resource, for providing the data on parakeet incursions in Australia. The staff of the Department of Agriculture and Food of Western Australia (Susan Campbell, Win Kirkpatrick, Malcolm Kennedy, Glenn Coupar, Brett Scourse and Terry Paterson) assisted in collecting data on parakeet reports and shared with us their invaluable knowledge on managing bird incursions. Peter Bird, Tamara van Polanen Petel, Michelle Christie and David Forsyth reviewed earlier drafts. Talia Wittmann and Antonia Dalziel provided advice on the artwork. We thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments, which helped us to improve the manuscript greatly. The project was funded by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) and the Australian Research Council (ARC). M.V. was funded by the Invasive Animals CRC (Project No. 1.L.4). P.C. was an ARC Future Fellow (FT0914420) and this work was supported by the ARC Discovery Grant (DP140102319).

Supplementary material

10530_2016_1332_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (201 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 201 kb)
10530_2016_1332_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (197 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 197 kb)
10530_2016_1332_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (380 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (PDF 379 kb)


  1. Anderson DR, Burnham KP (2002) Avoiding pitfalls when using information-theoretic methods. J Wildl Manag 66:912–918CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Animal Health Aliance (2013) Pet ownership in Australia. The Animal Health Alliance (Australia) Ltd, Cox Inall Communications Pty Ltd, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  3. Australian Birdkeeper (2011–2013) Classifieds. Aust. BirdkeepGoogle Scholar
  4. Balk D, Yetman G (2004) The Global Distribution of Population: evaluating the gains in resolution refinement. Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), Columbia University, Palisades, NYGoogle Scholar
  5. Barbet-Massin M, Jetz W (2014) A 40-year, continent-wide, multispecies assessment of relevant climate predictors for species distribution modelling. Divers Distrib 20:1285–1295. doi: 10.1111/ddi.12229 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barton K (2013) MuMIn: multi-model inference. R package version 1.9.13.
  7. Beale R, Fairbrother J, Inglis A, Trebeck D (2008) One biosecurity: a working partnership. Commonwealth of Australia, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  8. Bellard C, Thuiller W, Leroy B, Genovesi P (2013) Will climate change promote future invasions? Glob Change Biol 19:3740–3748. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12344 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bomford M (2003) Risk assessment for the import and keeping of exotic vertebrates in Australia. Bureau of Rural Science, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  10. Bomford M (2008) Risk assessment models for establishment of exotic vertebrates in Australia and New Zealand. Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  11. Bomford M, Sinclair R (2002) Australian research on bird pests: impact, management and future directions. Emu 102:29–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Broennimann O, Guisan A (2008) Predicting current and future biological invasions: both native and invaded ranges matter. Biol Lett 4:585–589CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  13. Bureau of Rural Sciences (2006) CLIMATCH software. Bureau of Rural Sciences, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  14. Butler CJ (2003) Population biology of the introduced Rose-ringed parakeet Psittacula krameri in the UK Dissertation, University of OxfordGoogle Scholar
  15. Butler CJ (2005) Feral parrots in the continental United States and United Kingdom: past, present, and future. J Avian Med Surg 19:142–149. doi: 10.1647/183 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Carrete M, Tella J (2008) Wild-bird trade and exotic invasions: a new link of conservation concern? Front Ecol Environ 6:207–211. doi: 10.1890/070075 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cassey P, Hogg C (2015) Escaping captivity: the biological invasion risk from vertebrate species in zoos. Biol Conserv 181:18–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cassey P, Prowse TA, Blackburn TM (2014) A population model for predicting the successful establishment of introduced bird species. Oecologia 175:417–428CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Chiron F, Shirley S, Kark S (2009) Human-related processes drive the richness of exotic birds in Europe. Proc R Soc B Biol Sci 276:47–53. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2008.0994 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Chiron F, Shirley SM, Kark S (2010) Behind the Iron Curtain: socio-economic and political factors shaped exotic bird introductions into Europe. Biol Conserv 143:351–356. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2009.10.021 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Clubb SL (1998) Captive management of birds for a lifetime. J Am Vet Med Assoc 15:1243–1245Google Scholar
  22. Collar NJ (1997) Family Psittacidae (Parrots). In: Del Hoyo J, Elliott A, Sargatal J (eds) Handbook of the birds of the world (volume 4): Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Lynx Editions, Barcelona, pp 280–339Google Scholar
  23. Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (2007) Animal pest alert: Indian Ringneck Parakeet. Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia. Government of Western AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  24. Department of Environment (2001) List of specimens taken to be suitable for live import. Accessed 27 May 2016
  25. Derraik JGB, Phillips S (2009) Online trade poses a threat to biosecurity in New Zealand. Biol Invasions 12:1477–1480. doi: 10.1007/s10530-009-9595-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Dhindsa MS, Saini HK (1994) Agricultural ornithology: an Indian perspective. J Biosci 19:391–402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Dubois P (2007) Les oiseaux allochtones en France: statut et interactions avec les espèces indigènes. Ornithos 14:329–364Google Scholar
  28. Duncan RP, Bomford M, Forsyth DM, Conibear L (2001) High predictability in introduction outcomes and the geographical range size of introduced Australian birds: a role for climate. J Anim Ecol 70:621–632. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2656.2001.00517.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Eason P, Victor R, Eriksen J (2009) Status of the exotic Ring-necked parakeet, Psittacula krameri, in Oman. Zool Middle East 47:37–41. doi: 10.1080/09397140.2009.10638344 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Eguchi K, Amano HE (2004) Invasive birds in Japan. Glob Environ Res 8:29–39Google Scholar
  31. Engebretson M (2006) The welfare and suitability of parrots as companion animals: a review. Anim Welf 15:263–276Google Scholar
  32. Evans T, Kumschick S, Dyer E, Blackburn T (2014) Comparing determinants of alien bird impacts across two continents: implications for risk assessment and management. Ecol Evol 1:2957–2967. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1144 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Fletcher M, Askew N (2007) Review of the status, ecology and likely future spread of parakeets in England. CSL, YorkGoogle Scholar
  34. García-Díaz P, Cassey P (2014) Patterns of transport and introduction of exotic amphibians in Australia. Divers Distrib 20:455–466. doi: 10.1111/ddi.12176 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Gong W, Sinden J, Braysher M, Jones R (2010) The economic impacts of vertebrate pests in Australia. Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  36. Henderson W, Bomford M (2011) Detecting and preventing new incursions of exotic animals in Australia. Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  37. Henderson W, Bomford M, Cassey P (2011) Managing the risk of exotic vertebrate incursions in Australia. Wildl Res 38:501–508. doi: 10.1071/WR11089 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hijmans RJ, Cameron SE, Parra JL et al (2005) Very high resolution interpolated climate surfaces for global land areas. Int J Climatol 25:1965–1978. doi: 10.1002/joc.1276 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hijmans RJ, Phillips S, Leathwick J, Elith J (2013) dismo: species distribution modeling. R package version 0.9-3.
  40. Hijmans RJ, Etten J van, Mattiuzzi M et al (2014) Raster: geographic data analysis and modeling. R package version 2.2-31.
  41. Jepson P, Ladle RJ (2005) Bird-keeping in Indonesia: conservation impacts and the potential for substitution-based conservation responses. Oryx 39:1–6. doi: 10.1017/S0030605305001110 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Juniper T, Parr M (1998) Parrots: a guide to the parrots of the world. Pica Press, East SussexGoogle Scholar
  43. Keller RP, Lodge DM, Finnoff DC (2007) Risk assessment for invasive species produces net bioeconomic benefits. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104:203–207. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0605787104 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Kikillus KH, Hare K, Hartley S (2012) Online trading tools as a method of estimating propagule pressure via the pet-release pathway. Biol Invasions 14:2657–2664. doi: 10.1007/s10530-012-0262-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Kumschick S, Nentwig W (2010) Some alien birds have as severe an impact as the most effectual alien mammals in Europe. Biol Conserv 143:2757–2762CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Latitude 42 (2011) Pest risk assessment: Indian ringneck parrot (Psittacula krameri). Latitude 42 Environmental Consultants Pty Ltd, HobartGoogle Scholar
  47. Leung B, Mandrak NE (2007) The risk of establishment of aquatic invasive species: joining invasibility and propagule pressure. Proc R Soc B Biol Sci 274:2603–2609. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2007.0841 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Leung B, Lodge DM, Finnoff D et al (2002) An ounce of prevention or a pound of cure: bioeconomic risk analysis of invasive species. Proc R Soc B Biol Sci 269:2407–2413. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2002.2179 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Leung B, Finnoff D, Shogren JF, Lodge D (2005) Managing invasive species: rules of thumb for rapid assessment. Ecol Econ 55:24–36. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2005.04.017 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lever C (1987) Naturalised birds of the world. Longman Sc & Tech, Harlow, EssexGoogle Scholar
  51. Lever C (2005) Rose-ringed parakeet (ring-necked parakeet) Psittacula krameri. In: Lever C (ed) Naturalized birds of the world. T. & A.D. Poyser, London, pp 124–130Google Scholar
  52. Lockwood JL, Cassey P, Blackburn T (2005) The role of propagule pressure in explaining species invasions. Trends Ecol Evol 20:223–228. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2005.02.004 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Lockwood JL, Cassey P, Blackburn TM (2009) The more you introduce the more you get: the role of colonization pressure and propagule pressure in invasion ecology. Divers Distrib 15:904–910CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. McKinney ML (2006) Urbanization as a major cause of biotic homogenization. Biol Conserv 127:247–260. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2005.09.005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Menchetti M, Mori E (2014) Worldwide impact of alien parrots (Aves Psittaciformes) on native biodiversity and environment: a review. Ethol Ecol Evol 26:172–194. doi: 10.1080/03949370.2014.905981 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Myers J, Simberloff D, Kuris A, Carey J (2000) Eradication revisited: dealing with exotic species. Trends Ecol Evol 15:316–320CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Nebot JC (1999) First report of the Rose-ringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri) in Venezuela and preliminary observations on its behavior. Ornitol Neotrop 100:115–117Google Scholar
  58. Phillips SJ, Dudík M, Elith J et al (2009) Sample selection bias and presence-only distribution models: implications for background and pseudo-absence data. Ecol Appl 19:181–197CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Pimentel D, Zuniga R, Morrison D (2005) Update on the environmental and economic costs associated with alien-invasive species in the United States. Ecol Econ 52:273–288. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2004.10.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Pithon JA (1998) The status and ecology of the Ring-necked parakeet Psittacula krameri in Great Britain. Dissertation, University of YorkGoogle Scholar
  61. Pluess T, Cannon R, Jarošík V et al (2012a) When are eradication campaigns successful? A test of common assumptions. Biol Invasions 14:1365–1378. doi: 10.1007/s10530-011-0160-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Pluess T, Jarošík V, Pyšek P et al (2012b) Which factors affect the success or failure of eradication campaigns against alien species? PLoS ONE 7:e48157. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0048157 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  63. R Core Team (2015) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna.
  64. Sanderson EW, Jaiteh M, Levy MA et al (2002) The Human Footprint and the Last of the Wild. Bioscience 52:891–904CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Strubbe D, Matthysen E (2009a) Experimental evidence for nest-site competition between invasive ring-necked parakeets (Psittacula krameri) and native nuthatches (Sitta europaea). Biol Conserv 142:1588–1594CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Strubbe D, Matthysen E (2009b) Establishment success of invasive ring-necked and monk parakeets in Europe. J Biogeogr 36:2264–2278. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2009.02177.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Strubbe D, Matthysen E, Graham CH (2010) Assessing the potential impact of invasive ring-necked parakeets Psittacula krameri on native nuthatches Sitta europeae in Belgium. J Appl Ecol 47:549–557. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01808.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Strubbe D, Shwartz A, Chiron F (2011) Concerns regarding the scientific evidence informing impact risk assessment and management recommendations for invasive birds. Biol Conserv 144:2112–2118. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2011.05.001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Strubbe D, Jackson H, Groombridge J, Matthysen E (2015) Invasion success of a global avian invader is explained by within-taxon niche structure and association with humans in the native range. Divers Distrib 21:675–685. doi: 10.1111/ddi.12325 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Tayleur JR (2010) A comparison of the establishment, expansion and potential impacts of two introduced parakeets in the United Kingdom. In: BOU Proceedings—the impacts of non-native species. pp 1–12Google Scholar
  71. The Avicultural Society of Australia Inc. (2011–2013) Member’s notices birds for sale & wanted to buy. Aust. AvicGoogle Scholar
  72. The Avicultural Society of Australia Inc. (2012–2014) Guide to bird prices. 2011–2012 to 2013–2014. Aust. AvicGoogle Scholar
  73. The United Bird Societies of South Australia Inc. (2003–2013) Bird Price Guide. 1st to 7th ednGoogle Scholar
  74. Tracey J, Bomford M, Hart Q et al (2007) Managing bird damage to fruit and other horticultural crops. Bureau of Rural Sciences, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  75. Vilà M, Basnou C, Gollasch S et al (2009) One hundred of the most invasive alien species in Europe. In: Drake J (ed) Handbook of alien species in Europe, vol 3. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 265–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Vörösmarty CJ, Douglas EM, Green PA, Revenga C (2005) Geospatial indicators of emerging water stress. Prof Geogr 34:230–236Google Scholar
  77. VPC (2007) List of exotic vertebrate animals in Australia. Vertebrate Pests Committee, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  78. Wildlife Conservation Society - WCS and Center for International Earth Science Information Network - CIESIN - Columbia University (2005) Last of the Wild Project, Version 2, 2005 (LWP-2): Global Human Footprint Dataset (Geographic). Palisades, NYGoogle Scholar
  79. Wilson A (2011) Exotic pest birds. Current Management. State of Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and InnovationGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miquel Vall-llosera
    • 1
  • Andrew P. Woolnough
    • 2
  • Dean Anderson
    • 3
  • Phillip Cassey
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological Sciences and Centre for Conservation Science and TechnologyThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and ResourcesMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Wildlife Ecology and ManagementLandcare ResearchLincolnNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations