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Reward fails to net pest bird

SIMON MAUDE
Last updated 05:00 11/03/2014
red-vented bulbul
BIG REWARD: Sightings of the red-vented bulbul have dropped.

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The Department of Conservation has come away empty-handed after a $1000 reward failed to help capture a wanted bird.

Since October, the department has been trying to eradicate the red-vented bulbul, an aggressive, starling-sized bird originally from Asia.

Wherever the bulbul establishes itself it is known to attack and displace native species and causes significant damage to fruit and vegetable crops.

After offering $300 for sightings leading to capture, the bounty was upped to $1000 in November.

DOC spokeswoman Liz Brooks says: "The reward offer was successful in raising awareness that red-vented bulbul are present in Auckland.

"But none of the calls received during the reward period led to the capture of a red-vented bulbul."

DOC received more than 150 sighting calls.

DOC's response team estimates there are at least five bulbuls on the loose in Auckland.

"We're asking the public to continue to keep an eye out for red-vented bulbuls," says Ms Brooks.

Red-vented bulbuls are easy to spot.

Bulbuls are around 20 centimetres in length, about the size of a starling. They have a black head, a dark back, grey-white belly, and a distinctive crimson-red patch beneath their tail.

Go to biosecurity. govt.nz/pests/red-vented-bulbul to hear the bird's distinctive call. Phone 0800 80 99 66 if you see or hear the birds.

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- North Shore Times

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