Java Sparrows

To: <>, <>
Subject: Java Sparrows
From: Mike Owen <>
Date: Sun, 06 Feb 2000 22:40:58 +1000
Tony Russell wrote:

> we left at dawn next day so were unable to check whether the birds were
> still around, but on return to Adelaide we determined that the birds were
> Java Sparrows, possibly the makings of a feral population.
> It is suggested that someone in the area, or maybe from Ballarat or
> Melbourne, should run a check on these escapes and see that steps are taken
> to either recapture them or have them destroyed. It would also be worth
> checking whether the (ex)owner has a licence to keep such birds and keeps
> the required records, and whether appropriate authorities are aware of the
> escape.

Java Sparrows are an extremly common aviary bird, wirh a total Australian
population probably of the order of 100,000. It was first bought into Australia
in the 1850's.  As far as I know it is not required to be registered by any
state of Australia, and is exempt from registration by the National Exotic Bird
Registration Scheme.  No doubt there are many escapees each year, and so far
there has never been a viable population established in Australia. 

Long (Introduced Birds of the World) notes that the Victorian Acclimatisation
Society tried to establish it in the Melbourne Botanical Gardens and in Royal
Park in 1863, with 235 birds being released.  This attempt failed to result in a
viable breeding colony.  Long also notes the complete failure of the species to
subsequently establish from the no doubt numerous aviary escapees since that

The Java Sparrow is many generations removed from it's wild ancestor's, and
quite simply aviary bred birds rapidly lose their instincts for survival in the
wild.  The only exotic finches that are found in Australia were all established
in the days when plentiful imports of wild caught birds meant that virtually
no-one was breeding these birds in captivity.

The chances of 2 Java Sparrows (with no remaining instinct on avoiding predator
raptors and with only a 1 in 2 chance of being of opposite sex) surviving in
Ararat can be considered to be zero.


Mike Owen
Sunshine Coast

To unsubscribe from this list, please send a message to

Include ONLY "unsubscribe birding-aus"
in the message body (without the quotes)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU