An Indian myna bird, also known as the common myna.

FOR the first time in any state or territory, the Indian myna bird has been declared a prohibited pest animal under the Pest Plants and Animals Act 2005.

Environment Minister Rebecca Vassarotti made the announcement today (June 21), saying: “These birds are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s list of the 100 most invasive species in the world, having a significant impact on native populations.

"They are very aggressive and intelligent, known to evict native birds such as kookaburras and parrots from their nests, dumping out their eggs and even killing their chicks.

“In urban habitats, they are considered a threat to the long-term survival of native birds and other animals like the sugar glider, which depend on tree hollows for survival.

“They are also known carriers of diseases such as avian flu, with the potential to spread fatal diseases to native birds and cause harm to domestic animals and even humans."

According to the Canberra Indian Myna Action Group, there are about 250 Indian myna birds for every square kilometre in Canberra — about 150,000 in total.

Canberra Indian Myna Action Group president Bill Handke and Environment Minister Rebecca Vassarotti. Photo: Nick Overall.

President of the action group Bill Handke called the declaration of the species as a pest a “profound decision". 

“We see this as the first step of a more concerted and concentrated effort to control this species,” said Mr Handke.

“It will give a boost to the control of the pest not just in the ACT region, but hopefully all up and down the eastern seaboard of Australia.

“A large part of that will come through the development of a practical action plan that government agencies, business and the community can follow."

The action group say that since the introduction of traps in 2006, myna birds have gone from the third most common bird in Canberra to the 24th.

Ms Vassarotti said the government will continue to work with community groups like the Canberra Indian Myna Action Group and the Australian National University to investigate and research more effective management methods.

“The Act also prohibits the keeping, breeding, sale or release of the birds within the ACT," she said. 

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Ian Meikle, editor