Pest bird threat removed from Fremantle

Residents near ports are reminded to keep watch for unusual birds, following the removal of an exotic pest bird from the Fremantle area.

The Department of Agriculture and Food removed an Indian house crow (pictured) from the Fremantle fisherman’s wharf area last week in response to reports from the public.

Department Priority Pest Acting Manager Lindsay Strange said if left to breed in the wild, house crows could become a major pest of agriculture, raiding crops such as wheat, maize and sunflower.

“They cause severe damage to vegetables and fruit crops including mango, guava, pawpaw, fig, apple, pear, grape and stone fruit,” Mr Strange said. “The house crow will attack and can kill poultry and new-born lambs.”

He congratulated keen birdwatching groups for informing the department of this sighting, which prompted a surveillance program by the department.

“It is particularly important for those working and living near ports to help protect our native wildlife and agricultural industries from exotic pests by quickly reporting any unusual birds,” he said.

Mr Strange said it was most likely the bird had flown in from a ship.

“The house crow specimen was taken to the WA Museum for analysis,” he said.

“Preliminary results show it was an immature female and most likely the subspecies Corvus splendens insolens that occurs in China and Myanmar.”

The house crow is 42 to 44 cm in length (body and tail). It has black plumage that appears glossy with a metallic greenish blue-purple sheen on the forehead. The bill is black and the upper beak is strongly curved. They are generally slightly smaller than the Australian raven (crow).

The Invasive Animals CRC asked Dr Michelle Christy our National Incursion Response Facilitator to comment, of which she said: “The removal of this species from Australia is a significant accomplishment and further demonstrates DAFWA’s ongoing commitment to incursion prevention and response”. 

Source from DAFWA: https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/news/media-releases/pest-bird-threat-removed-fremantle