Pest Bird Biology

There are a number of native birds which cause problems to premises in the UK.  Of course the pigeon and sea-gull cause a well known nuisance, wherever humans are found, but others can be just as problematic.

Species: Feral Pigeon (Columba Livia)

feral pigeonAppearance

  • 32 cm long
  • Blue-grey in colour (although other colours are common)


  • 2 – 3 broods per year, with 2 eggs in each clutch
  • 17 – 19 day incubation period
  • Young birds spend 35 – 37 days in the nest


  • Feeds on seeds, green feed, domestic scraps in and around cities, near roosting sites
  • Nests on ledges

Species: Gulls (Laridae)


  • There are several species of gull and only a small number are recognised as being pest birds: greater black backed gull, the lesser black-backed gull and the herring gull
  • Identification of gulls can be difficult due to seasonal variations in their plumage


  • 1 brood per year, with 3 eggs in each clutch. 25 day incubation period
  • Young birds spend 35 – 42 days in the nest


  • Feeds away from their roosting site; omnivorous. Nests on cliffs and buildings


Species: House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)


  • 15cm Long
  • Male can be identified by the grey crow & black ‘bid’. Females are mostly brown in colour


  • Sparrows live for 4 to 7 years with up to 5 breeding seasons
  • The breeding season runs through spring and summer, and up to 3 broods of 4 – 6 eggs may be laid at this time


  • The same nest will tend to be used each year resulting in debris build up
  • It is a pest to the food industry in particular due to the risk of contamination from their droppings and the damage done to packaged goods

Species: Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)


  • 20 – 23 cm long. Can be recognised by their pointed wings & short tail when flying
  • At first sight they appear plain black, but the feathers catch the light and may appear iridescent green or purple


  • Up to 2 broods per year, with 4 – 6 eggs, the young stay in the nest for about 3 weeks
  • Breeding can be extended into June and July if conditions are favourable


  • The concentration of droppings from a large flock provide a good medium for pathogenic fungi, some harmful to humans
  • Agricultural pest but common to cities in large numbers


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