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Public asked to help capture new invasive parakeets on Maui

There have been confirmed sightings of at least four more in West Maui.
Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 6:05 PM HST
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KIHEI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new invasive pest has been captured on the Valley Isle.

A rose-ringed parakeet was captured in Kihei in July.

It’s unclear how many of the invasive birds are on the island, but there have been confirmed sightings of at least four more in West Maui.

State and local agencies are now working swiftly to find the others before they cause too much damage.

“It’s really a species we don’t want,” said Dr. Fern Duvall with the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Duvall is a biologist who specializes in birds including invasive birds. He says don’t let their looks fool you, the rose-ringed parakeet is dangerous.

“Parrots will carry a disease that is of human health concern,” he said. “They are a very big hazard for human health, for agriculture, especially coffee and any grain products. They’ll also eat lots of fruit. So, anyone trying to have backyard mangoes or lychee or anything like that would be impossible.”

The birds are native to Africa but have wreaked havoc on Kauai over the years where there are now an estimated 20,000 of them. There are large populations of the parakeet on Oahu and some on the Big Island as well.

Unlike the lovebird, the rose-ringed parakeets have long tails and adult males have a rose color ring around their necks.

“Trying to get the community of Maui to come together, be our eyes and ears to find out where these birds might be located,” said Adam Knox, Maui Invasive Species Committee Operations Manager.

Duvall is trying to study if the birds came from Kauai or if it was illegally brought to Maui.

“Apparently they’re starting to breed. We would like to eliminate them from the wild and save Maui from another invasive species before it’s too late,” Duvall said.

If you see or hear one of these, click here or you can call 643-PEST.

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