Date of release: Monday, January 11, 2016

World's biggest bird pestTo eat or to poison the biggest pest in the bird world? This is among the big questions that will be asked at a free Natural Resources Institute (NRI) lecture at the University of Greenwich Medway Campus.

The world's most populous bird is the subject of the talk, The biology and control of the Red-billed Quelea, the world's most numerous bird pest, by NRI's Professor Bob Cheke. It takes place on Thursday 14 January at 5pm.

Bob will describe the bird's ecology and how it responds to seasonal changes in its semi-arid habitats in Africa, which has enabled its population to reach many millions. The birds can devastate crops before migrating long distances to repeat the damage elsewhere.

Red-billed quelea breed in huge communal colonies and also roost together in sites, which means they can be targeted for control. Existing control measures will be explained, as will NRI research into devising more environment–friendly methods for killing the birds. Eating is an alternative to poisoning them at local levels.

The lecture takes place in the Jellicoe building, room J106. To confirm a place please email:

For more on NRI, part of the university's Faculty of Engineering & Science:

Picture: A flock of red-billed quelea.

Story by Public Relations