Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Monk Parakeet in Malaga

The Monk Parakeet, or Wild Myiopsitta monachus, originally from Argentina, has been seen in large groups in Malaga.

This green Parakeet lives in palm trees on the coast and seems to survive very well in Spain. In fact, there are that many now, that the Town of Malaga has decided to sterilize the eggs and remove their nests to stop them to reproduce.

These bright green parrots from Argentina are becoming more frequent and numerous in Spain, living in large groups in the provinces Malaga, Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. 

Although they make a pleasant sound for some and are beautiful to see, they can become dangerous for the population of Malaga.

All have the same origin: escaped from their bird cages. Since this bird is cheap to buy (about 20 euros each) many Spaniards bought one to keep as pets.

They estimate to have a population in Spain of more then 3000 nesting pairs, and increases at a great speed of 20 percent annually. No wonder that in Argentina these birds are considered a plague and cause severe damage to their corn and sunflower plantations. They seem to bread in large colonies on parallel power lines which causes damage and wildfires.

Last year they removed 91 nests in the city of Malaga in orderd to control the colony to expand. These birds build nests in trees, communication towers and power lines in Malaga, which are are composed of thorny branches tied together. With the removal of 91 nests, it will effect a larger number of birds because each nest is shared by multiple partners simultaneously.

The Monk Parakeet is the only parrot that builds a stick nest, in a tree or on a man-made structure, rather than using a hole in a tree.

This parakeet becomes about 29 cm tall with a 48 cm wingspan, and weighs about 100 g. 

Before its population gets a plague in Malaga also, we should consider twice before buying these birds, and then when we get tired of them, have the bad idea to 'let them free', we will just make things worse.