Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

October 1973


Quelea quelea is probably the most important avian pest of cereal crops in the sahelian areas of Africa. Its depredations reduce the cereal production of many African nations that lie within its range. To prevent this damage, bird control organizations carry out campaigns to reduce their numbers. Frequently these efforts have given poor crop protection for the cost of control because of inadequate control technology. Factors contributing to the difficulty of carrying out this kind of control are the migrations of the birds which are still incompletely understood, the inaccessability of many nesting areas, the relatively high reproductive potential of Quelea, and the vastness of the territory involved. (The generic name is used throughout this paper to denote the Red-billed (or Sudan) Dioch, Quelea quelea.). In consequence, a general population reduction seems impossible. However, within a broad program of crop protection there are some places and times when destruction of concentrations of Quelea could be a practical means of control. In particular, this is true in situations where nesting colonies are located near agricultural schemes with high-value cash crops.