Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

November 1976


The Red-billed Quelea (Quelga quelaa), because of its widespread destruction of grain crops throughout its range in Africa, is one of the most studied and written about granivorous bird species. Less publicized are more local bird pests in Africa which may be equally Important. The Village Weaver, (Ploceus cucullatus), for example, is a pest in many countries, while some other Ploecids with limited destructive habits create local problems. Significant crop losses also occur where there are large populations of Golden Sparrows (Passer luteus), House Sparrows (Passer domesticus), Red Bishops (Euplectes oryx), Doves (Streptopelia spp.), Glossy Starlings (Lamprotornis chalybaeus), Parakeets (Psittacula spp.), and some waterfowl (Mackworth-Praed and Grant, 1952; Pans Manual No. 3, 1974; Park, 1974). Crop losses from local bird pests were reported in early February 1975 to the Sudan Plant Protection Bird Control Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture. A mechanized farm scheme in Khartoum North had large concentrations of Red Bishops roosting in maize and feeding on an early-maturing wheat variety (Mexicana). Small flocks of Golden Sparrows and House Sparrows also were present. Bird damage was clearly visible, especially at the corners and along the edges of the ripening wheatfields. Ground spraying with Queletox (60% a.1. Fenthion) on roosts of the Golden and House Sparrows was conducted along hedge rows of acacia (Acacia mellifera) located at the north end of the farm. Although the spray killed large numbers of roosting birds, damage con- tinued as the wheat matured. Pilot field trials were thus organized to test the effectiveness of other crop protection techniques. Because birds fed throughout many blocks of wheat which matured at different periods, it was felt that several different experiments could be conducted without Interfering with each other. The control techniques Included an acoustical repellent, a chemical repellent, a chemical frightening agent, and a trap. The experiments, conducted from February 7 through February 23, 1975, were not designed as an integrated control operation.