Crimson Rosellas
Crimson Rosellas

Virus is decimating bird population

WHILE humans are still grappling with the effect of COVID-19, Australian researchers have found wild Australian parrots to be rife with a dangerous pathogen called Beak and Feather Disease Virus (BFDV).

According to a research team from Deakin University, the virus can infect most parrots, including crimson rosellas, eastern rosellas, galahs, sulphur-crested cockatoos, blue-winged parrots, rainbow lorikeets and red-rumped parrots.

The virus causes birds to develop malformations in their flaws and beaks, as well as stopping them from growing any feathers.

Of the four most caught species, the scientific team found the virus in 41.8 per cent of crimson rosellas, 20 per cent of the cockys, 11.8 per cent of the blue-winged parrots, and 8.8 per cent of the galahs.

 

A pair of red-rumped parrots inspect a future nest site.
A pair of red-rumped parrots inspect a future nest site.

 

As the disease is shed through the feathers, the team warns that BFDV is endemic in southeastern Australia, and humans may need to look for ways to protect our native flappy-friends.

The study explains that BFDV can cause mortality and potentially extinction, and is therefore of global conservation concern.

BFDV is thought to be endemic to Australia, and in 2005 it was declared a "key threatening process to biodiversity" by the Australian government.

The peer reviewed document was published in the Plos One Journal.


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