Rainbow lorikeet: management

Page last updated: Thursday, 23 September 2021 - 1:59pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Points to consider to help reduce crop damage by pest birds

  • Consider whether the benefits of taking action (to decrease damage) will outweigh the cost and effort. Trials have shown that for other parrot species sometimes the most cost-effective measure is to do nothing, especially for low-value crops.
  • Adequate resources (money, labour and equipment) should be set aside to deal with damage problems.
  • Co-operation among neighbours may assist in the efficient and effective use of management options, especially in areas where there are a number of small holdings.
  • Every situation is different. Management combinations that work at one location may not work at another. Also, not all bird species react the same way to a particular option.
  • Instant reduction in damage is unlikely. Management needs to be exercised throughout the whole time when damage occurs, otherwise the effects will be short-lived.
  • Scarers or shooting should be used occasionally throughout the year to maintain a degree of wariness in the birds and convince them that the area is not safe for feeding.
  • Crops should be regularly checked for signs of damage. Early action can then be taken before the  birds become reliant on the crop for food or develop a habit of coming to the crop.
  • It is important that the birds associate human activity with danger. They soon lose their fear of humans if not harassed with real danger (or a good simulation of danger).
  • Management efforts should be random with respect to the time at which they occur, the type of devices and vehicles used, and the people involved. This reduces the opportunity for birds to get used to a routine and become complacent about particular devices, vehicles, or people. For example, setting and forgetting scaring devices is much less likely to be effective than more strategic, non-repetitive use.
  • If there are no alternative food sources (like flowering plants or a sacrificed part of the crop) located where the birds can feed undisturbed, it may be difficult to scare birds from the main crop. They may be reliant on the crop for food and return to it.
  • Assessment of the level of damage and the effectiveness of management programs might indicate that next season resources could be better used elsewhere.

Bunch of green grapes which have been damaged by lorikeets feeding.
Rainbow lorikeet damage to table grapes in the Swan Valley.

Contact information

Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080