Several specimens of ring-necked parakeets, an exotic bird with bright colors, have been seen in the parks of Bourg-en-Bresse this summer. Should we fear proliferation? Installed for many years in the big cities of Europe, the exotic species extends its range and seems to find its balance in our latitudes.
With its flamboyant green plumage, black collar and orange-red beak, the ring-necked parakeet hardly goes unnoticed. Even drowned in the foliage, it does not completely manage to be discreet. If its plumage does not really serve as camouflage, its large size, its high-pitched cry, unusual in our latitudes, make it even more visible. In Bourg-en-Bresse, in the parks, some residents have been surprised to see them in recent months. Discovering this bird native to the tropical forests of sub-Saharan Africa or the Indian subcontinent is unexpected.
“I started seeing some in the spring,” explains this burgienne whose ear was attracted by unusual cries. “It doesn’t look like the birds we usually have here. And then looking up, it was flying away and now I feel like there are more and more”she continues.
In the parks of Bourg-en-Bresse, wild ducks, moorhens and pigeons are usually the regulars. But recently, this territory has also become that of the rose-ringed parakeets. This exotic bird seems to have become accustomed to places and to have established its quarters in green spaces.
An approximate census reports about twenty specimens in the Indian capital. Still quite a limited number. The green spaces department has noted the presence of this bird for about six years. “It’s a new species in our latitudes. Bourg is no exception. It’s been decades that there are in quite a few big cities in Europe, including further north. surprise, nor a concern to have in front of these parakeets”, explains Sébastien Guéraud, Deputy Mayor of Bourg-en-Bresse.
The whole of Europe is indeed affected by the phenomenon. There would be 30,000 ring-necked parakeets in London, 10,000 in France, mainly in the Paris region. They are also present in Italy, Germany and Portugal. These birds, appreciated by collectors, ended up in the wild after having escaped from their owners or during transport accidents. Now, these parakeets proliferate in urban areas.
But if the inhabitants are under the spell, these birds are however considered an invasive alien species. This parakeet would have appeared around the Lyon region in the 2000s. Eric Bureau, Bird Park veterinarian in Villars-les-Dombes, is not surprised by its presence in the Bourg-en-Bresse sector.
It is an animal that remains urban and peri-urban. He is not yet settling in the countryside.
Éric Bureau, Bird Park veterinarian
Can the ring-necked parakeet compete with local birds? Eric Bureau is formal: “On food, with other birds, not a priori!”. The exotic bird feeds mainly on fruits and seeds. However, the same is not true for housing. “There are doubts, studies have been done in Belgium. These are birds that nest in hollow trees. But hollow trees, there are not many left. These parakeets can be in competition with other local birds that nest in hollow trees like nuthatches”, continues the veterinarian. But how can it survive in our latitudes? This bird is not afraid of the cold and has good adaptability, according to the veterinarian. “He took advantage of a free space to settle, where he was not in competition with other birds”, he says. And he had so far few predators. And the cohabitation with Man? ” It is an animal that remains urban and peri-urban. He is not yet settling in the countryside. So no damage observed on agriculture in our countries”adds the veterinarian.
Rose-ringed parakeets have settled in Bourg-en-Bresse
The Bird Park of Villars-les-Dombes presents another invasive species: the monk conure, an American parakeet.