The Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) is a parrot from Central Africa and Asia which has established feral populations in South Africa. Its distribution in South Africa is expanding. Four subspecies are recognised. They are popular aviary birds but escapees from the 1960s and 1970s have now established feral populations in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
What does the law say?
Under the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act – Alien and Invasive Species Regulations, Rose-ringed Parakeets are listed under Category 2, (see scope of exemption listed below) if they are in captivity. Wild Rose-ringed Parakeets revert to Category 1b, which requires active management.
Scope of exemption under the IAS Regulations:
Any person undertaking rose-ringed parakeet breeding registered with the relevant industry Association is exempted from requiring a permit for all restricted activities, provided such Association is in possession of a valid permit in terms of the Act or the Alien and Invasive Species Regulation, 2014 for any restricted activity relating to rose-ringed parakeet breeding and provided such person complies with all permit conditions in the relevant Association’s permit. The above exemption does not apply to restricted activity “a” in Notice 1: “Importing into the Republic, including introducing from the sea, any specimen of a listed invasive species” and any person engaging in this activity must apply for a permit from the Issuing Authority.
Where is it found? Invasive Rose-ringed Parakeets are now common in suburbia of eThekwini (Durban) and Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal. They are also found in suburban Johannesburg, Centurion and Pretoria in Gauteng. Large flocks are often observed around Johannesburg’s northern suburbs, and frequently seen in the Rietvlei Nature Reserve. Individuals are sometimes seen in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, and other large cities.
Why are they a problem?
Rose-ringed parakeets are medium-sized birds which can easily outcompete and displace numerous indigenous species. They are a particular threat to birds who nest inside tree cavities, such as wood-hoopoes, barbets and many other species, as they take over nesting sites. Elsewhere in their invaded range internationally, they have become a pest in agricultural fields. Indications are that the Rose-ringed Parakeet is expanding its range into new territories and will increasingly become a larger problem if suitable control measures are not put into effect.
How can you identify a Rose-ringed Parakeet?
The Rose-ringed Parakeet is unlikely to be mistaken for any indigenous birds. The indigenous Cape and Grey-headed parrots have a yellow-brown or grey head respectively and a much shorter tail. Wild Rose-ringed Parakeets are mostly bright lemon green with a bright red beak. Males also have a distinctive black collar or ring, forming a black patch on the chin. Rose-ringed Parakeets also have long tail feathers compared to the short tail feathers of indigenous parrots and lovebirds.
What can you do? Report sightings Report sightings in your area to https://www.inaturalist.org/