Many invasive birds in Texas wreak havoc. Although some of the invasive bird species have been in the state for decades, it doesn’t mean they are beneficial. Invasive species though aren’t always harmful. Instead, an invasive species is an animal or plant that is not native to a region. However, problems arise when invasive species compete with native species for food, shelter, and resources.
Are you ready to learn about invasive birds? Follow along to learn more about 6 invasive birds in Texas.
Egyptian Goose (Alpochen aegyptiacus)
The first invasive bird species on our list is the Egyptian goose. While not native to Texas, it’s common throughout the state. Egyptian geese are native to Africa south of the Sahara and the Nile Valley. They are old birds in the family Anatidae. These geese were considered sacred by ancient Egyptians and can be found depicted in different artworks. These large and heavy geese are excellent fliers. They are about 25 to 29 inches long and have large white, grey, and brown wings.
The Egyptian geese found in Texas are likely escapee ornamental birds. You can also find them in New Zealand, Florida, and California. Egyptian geese are also protectors. They are especially aggressive when nesting and are very territorial. So territorial in fact, they’ve been recorded attacking animals and drones that fly in their habitat.
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mute swans are swans in the family Anatidae and are native to Eurosiberia, however, you can find these in northern Africa. These swans were introduced to the United States in the late 19th century where there are steady populations. They are large white swans, measuring about 49 to 63 inches long. They have long orange beaks outlined with black. Although mute swans have been around for thousands of years, they were only first described in 1789 by Johann Friedrich Gmelin. While not native to Texas, you can find them in many lakes and ponds across the state.
Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus)
Monk parakeets are parrots in the family Psittacidae. It is native to South American countries like temperate and subtropical areas. However, there are many feral populations in North America and Europe. These birds are small and bright green with greenish-yellow abdomens and greyish breasts. Monk parakeets live about 20 years. They are very common in Houston and Austin, and even more so in Florida. For instance, in Florida, there are at least 150,000 monk parakeets. But how did these populations establish? During the 1960s and the 1980s, thousands of monk parakeets were brought to the United States as exotic pets. However, many were released or escaped.
Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Another invasive bird species in Texas is the Eurasian collared dove. These doves are native to Europe and Asia, but they were introduced to Japan, the Caribbean, and North America. They are slim and about 13 inches long from the tip of their beak to the tip of their tail. Eurasian collared doves also have a wingspan between 19 and 22 inches. Their feathers are grey or a grey-pink. They also have red irises that look black from a distance. Interestingly, this bird is found in almost every state in the U.S. Eurasian collared doves likely spread to the United States from the Bahamas.
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
Cattle egrets are native to parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe, however, its distributed in most parts of the world. The bird is white with tan or buff plumes in the breeding season. These birds have short thick necks and yellow bills. Cattle egrets are long and stocky herons with a wingspan between 34.5 to 38 inches. They can weigh up to 18 ounces. Although these birds aren’t native to the Americas, it was first spotted there in 1877. Cattle egrets first emerged in North America in 1941. Globally, there are over 3.8 million cattle egrets.
Orange Bishop (Euplectes franciscanus)
Another invasive bird in Texas is the orange bishop, also known as the northern red bishop. It’s a small and bright bird native to northern Africa. Some countries this bird is native to are northern Liberia, southern Mauritania, Tanzania, Kenya, Guinea, and Ethiopia. Orange bishops were introduced to Texas and Hawaii in the 1900s. They are very vibrant and beautiful with red or orange feathers. Their feathers get their colors from carotenoids in their diet.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Sailesh Patel/Shutterstock.com
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