Common Bird Species

Many birds can be pleasant to have around thanks to their attractive look and birdsong. However, you need to be aware of certain bird species that can be a real issue for you and your home.

Find out more below about typical pest birds found across Australia.

House Sparrow

(Passer domesticus)

The House Sparrow is considered a major pest because they have the potential to deface your home and bring disease.

House Sparrow

Appearance

  • Length: Less than 15cm
  • How to identify House Sparrows: Males: grey crown on their heads, and black throat ‘bib’. Females and young: mostly plain brown.

Lifecycle

  • Sparrows’ life span lasts between 4 and 6 years, with up to 5 breeding seasons.
  • Spring and Summer is the breeding season, where up to three broods of 4 to 6 eggs may be laid.

Habits

  • Sparrows tend to use the same nest every year, which brings about additional nest debris and insects. They are a risk to your home because their droppings can deface properties and contaminate food and plants.

Indian Myna

(Corvus splendens)

Their numbers have continued to increase in Australian urban areas, they have become a major pest problem wherever there is easy access to food.

Corvus Splendens House Crow

Appearance

  • Size: 25cm.
  • Colour: Brown and white with a dark green neck area and yellow beak and legs.

Lifecycle

  • The Indian Myna lives on average four years in the wild, possibly over 12 years.
  • Breed 4-5 glossy pale blue eggs in the Spring and Summer months.

Habits

  • Insects are their main source of food but also feed on food scraps.
  • Roof cavities, palm trees and sheltered areas are preferred for nesting.

Pigeons

(Columba livia)

Also referred to as city doves or street pigeons. Pigeons thrive in busy, urban areas and only require the smallest amount of shelter on your home to build their nests and settle in.

Pigeon

Appearance

  • 31.75cm long.
  • Blue–grey in colour (although other colours are common).

Lifecycle

  • Breed 2-3 times a year, with 2 eggs in each clutch.
  • Spend 17-19 days sitting on eggs to provide heat and promote healthy breeding (incubation).
  • 35 and 37: Number of days young birds spend in the nest.

Habits

  • Pigeons scavenge for seeds, green feed, and food scraps in busy areas, near their habitats.
  • Ledges are preferred for nesting.

Seagulls

(Family – Laridae)

If you live in a coastal town or city, this is where gulls are typically found. Only a small number such as Silver Gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae), the Lesser black–backed gull (Larus fuscus) and the Herring gull (Larus argentatus) are recognised as being pest birds.

Herring Gull

Appearance

  • Silver Gulls have a: White head, tail and underparts Light grey back and; Black-tipped wings.
  • Adult birds have bright orange-red bill, legs and eye-rings.
  • Gulls can be difficult to identify because of seasonal variations in their plumage.

Lifecycle

  • 1 brood per year, with 3 eggs in each clutch.
  • 25 day incubation period.
  • Young birds spend 35 – 42 days in the nest.

Habits

  • Gulls are omnivorous – they eat both animal and plant foods. This occurs away from their roosting sites.
  • Cliffs and buildings are preferred for nesting.

Starlings

(Sturnus vulfaris)
Starling

Appearance

  • Length: 19cm –23cm
  • Can be identified by their pointed wings and short tail when flying.
  • Colour: Appear to be black, but may appear iridescent green or purple once their feathers catch light.

Lifecycle

  • Can rear up to two broods a year, in April and May, with 4–6 eggs generally in each clutch.
  • The young stay in the nest for about 21 days.
  • Breeding can continue into winter (June and July) if conditions are favourable.

Habits

  • Pathogenic fungi, which can be harmful or even fatal to humans, comes from a concentration of droppings from a large flock of starlings.
  • Starlings are a pest for agricultural standing crops and plants, but also have no hesitation in flocking cities in large numbers.