Bird-watching reward hunters encouraged

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Media contact: MPI media phone
Telephone: 029 894 0328

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) encourages Aucklanders and those in the Waikato to keep an eye out for the pest "angry bird", the red-vented bulbul, as there's a $300 reward for sighting information that leads to bird capture.

MPI is working in partnership with the Department of Conservation and Auckland Council to track down and eradicate the birds which are now known to be present in the wider Auckland area.

Red-vented bulbuls are originally from Asia and threaten native birds and fruit and vegetable crops. They have an aggressive nature and are prolific breeders.

"MPI has had confirmed sightings of the birds in south Auckland (Manurewa/Alfriston), west Auckland (Henderson/Te Atatu/Massey) and on the North Shore (Devonport/Belmont/Takapuna). There's also been a confirmed sighting on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula," says MPI Response Manager Brad Chandler.  "There have also been unconfirmed sightings in Orakei, central Auckland and at Walton in the Waikato.

 "We've had populations of this bird in Auckland twice before and they've been successfully eradicated. We want to locate any birds out there so they can be successfully removed before a population can establish."

The $300 reward is being offered by the Department of Conservation for reliable information leading to a live bird being captured by DOC or Auckland Council staff.

"People who believe they've seen or heard red-vented bulbuls in the Auckland and Waikato regions are asked to call our free Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline 0800 80 99 66 and provide the location. A photo would also be hugely useful," Mr Chandler says.

"Payments will be made where reports directly result in a successful capture within the one month reward timeframe which runs from Thursday 10 October to Sunday 10 November."

Red-vented bulbuls are a medium-sized bird, around 20 centimetres long, about the size of a starling. They have a black head, a dark back, grey-white belly, and a distinctive crimson-red patch of feathers beneath their tail.

The birds also have a very distinctive call, unlike other birds you normally hear around Auckland or the Waikato. Their call can be heard at: http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/pests/red-vented-bulbul

For more information on the reward, view Reward for red-vented bulbul sightings

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