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Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Rainbow lorikeet management options

Legal methods

Anti-bird netting

When and where used: enclose crops with temporary or permanent netting. Available from a number of specialist companies as well as rural and hardware suppliers.

Benefits: effective, long term, and humane when properly installed.

Costs and other considerations: high initial capital outlay and not economic for protection of low-value crops. May obstruct farming practices and require maintenance unless properly designed. There can be animal welfare issues with loosely applied nets or nets with large mesh-size, as birds can be entangled. Reduces air movement so may increase crop disease problems. Also can exclude beneficial predators and increase insect damage. Could move birds to other types of crops like wine grapes.


When and where used: various devices (for example, bio-acoustic sounds, laser lights, fire hoses) used in combination at feeding, loafing and roosting sites. To be effective, may also require alternative foods at another location that the birds can move to, as well as use of firearms.

Benefits: humane and safer in built-up areas.

Costs and other considerations: often costly as probably necessary to apply continually, with devices being rotated to be effective. Scarers may breach noise regulations and bird-scaring ammunition like Bird Frite® can be a minor fire risk during dry periods. Reported to be ineffective on some properties in the Swan Valley.

Alternative foods

When and where used: alternative flowering or fruiting plants attractive to lorikeets are placed or planted away from the crop while scaring continues only at the crop. A variation is to sacrifice a corner of the crop to the birds where they are left undisturbed. 

Benefits: in tree plantations, alternative foods are somewhat effective on ringneck parrots, but effectiveness against lorikeets is currently unknown.

Costs and other considerations: alternative foods must always be available during the damage season or birds could shift back to the crop. Alternative foods may attract birds to the area in the first place.

Cover or remove vehicles or other items

When and where used: roost or food trees can usually be identified by the noise the birds make. Vehicles or items beneath can be covered or moved to avoid fouling.

Benefits: low-cost alternative

Costs and other considerations: when removal is not possible, a cover may be an option.


When and where used: firearms must be licenced. Use must be in accordance with the Firearms Act 1973. Suggested firearms for use only at close range include: Air Rifle (0.17, 0.22); Rifle (0.22), Z Long (29 grains) ammunition; Shotgun (0.410), shot size 6-9; (12 gauge), shot size 6, 8.

Benefits: humane if properly carried out. Effective when used intensively to reduce numbers. Trains birds to associate humans with real danger.

Costs and other considerations: use in built-up areas or on very small farms requires great attention to safety and animal welfare issues. Make arrangements with local police and inform the local shire beforehand to avoid problems. Must be applied intensively. May not be effective in scaring birds. Shot birds may be replaced by another flock that finds the crop.

Live trapping

When and where used: illegal without a licence from DPaW. Attractants may include live lure birds or food (for example, nectar or fruit), possibly in locations where lorikeets are already feeding.

Benefits: may remove birds causing damage at the critical time.

Costs and other considerations: euthanasia can only be applied by experienced operators. Traps must have shelter, food and water and be checked regularly so that lure birds are cared for and trapped birds are removed. Effective trap designs and attractants are not yet available.


When and where used: illegal without a licence from DPaW. Only experienced operators can be licenced.

Benefits: may remove birds causing damage at the critical time.

Costs and other considerations: can only be used effectively where bird flight paths are known and are at heights of less than approximately 3m. High risk of injury to birds and operators when used by unlicensed operators. Euthanasia can only be applied by experienced operators.

The following methods of control are illegal under Western Australian and Australian Government Legislation and should not be considered for use. 

Poisoning: Is not selective and so may result in the death of native animals, birds and pets. Crop contamination threatens markets.

Trapping and export/selling of birds: Wild-caught adult birds do not humanise, are not suitable as pets and would almost certainly not be suitable for export. Illegal under international treaty also.

Capture and translocation illegal under WA legislation and animal welfare legislation: Translocated birds must attempt to establish themselves in a new environment. This moves the problem to a new location.

Contact information

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