What is Psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD)?
Psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) is also known as psittacine circovirus (PCV) or Psittacine Circoviral Disease (PCD). It is the most common and highly infectious viral disease among parrots. The disease appears to have originated in Australia. Its distribution is Australia-wide, including Tasmania.
Outcomes of PBFD
Psittacine beak and feather disease can cause very high death rates in nestlings both in captivity and the wild. It can cause long-term immunological suppression, as well as cause feather and beak abnormalities. It can be spread by food sharing through the bird’s crop, fresh or dried excrement and feather and skin particles. The virus is extremely stable in the environment and can survive in nest hollows for years.
Control of PBFD
Prevention is the best method of control as there is no effective treatment for psittacine beak and feather disease. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to remove the virus once it has been introduced into a captive or wild population. The level of threat and distribution of the virus can be altered by the movements of common parrot species. While eradication of a widespread and continuously present disease is not possible, well developed management plans based on current knowledge can assist in reducing the impact of the disease on threatened parrot populations.
Key threatening process
Psittacine beak and feather disease affecting endangered psittacine species (parrots and related species) was listed in April 2001 as a key threatening process under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
- Psittacine Circoviral (beak and feather) Disease - Key threatening process listing advice
Threat abatement plan
A threat abatement plan (TAP) was made in 2005 as the Minister determined under section 270A of the EPBC Act that it was a feasible, effective and efficient way to abate the impact of BFD virus on threatened Australian parrots. This plan ceased on 1 October 2015.
Reviews of the threat abatement plan were conducted in 2012 and 2015 as required under the EPBC Act. The Minister for the Environment determined that the most feasible, effective and efficient way to address the threat of psittacine beak and feather disease was to develop a non-statutory threat abatement advice.
- Threat Abatement Advice for the key threatening process ‘Psittacine Circoviral (beak and feather) Disease affecting endangered psittacine species’
- Review of the Threat Abatement Plan for Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease Affecting Endangered Psittacine Species (2005) - five yearly review conducted in 2012 and revised in 2015
- Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease and other identified Threats to Australian threatened Parrots - follow up review on threats conducted in 2015
Threat abatement actions
To address the knowledge gaps of psittacine beak and feather disease at a species level, threat abatement actions will be incorporated into the 16 statutory recovery plans of threatened parrot species listed under the EPBC Act as they are revised. The threat abatement advice is an overarching document outlining cross-species actions and research necessary to abate the threat.
Threatened parrot species listed under the EPBC Act
There are 56 species total, 14 cockatoos (Cacatuidae), 42 parrots (Psittacidae) in Australia. At present, 18 of these species are classified as threatened under the EPBC Act. These species have the potential to be gravely affected by psittacine beak and feather disease, particularly when stressed due to other factors, or small or isolated populations are infected.
Maps of Australian parrots and PBFD
The collection of twenty two maps relate to the distribution, observation and density of Australian parrots. Most display the seventeen recognised EPBC listed threatened parrots that are impacted by PBFD, and their individual distribution in Australia. There is also a descriptive map which combines all seventeen of these threatened EPBC listed species distributions on the one Australian map. The other four maps show species observations relating to density. They display native non-EPBC listed species which may be affected by PBFD, as well as the possible interactions between listed and non listed parrots.
- Distribution of threatened species which may be affected by PBFD (PDF - 264.3 KB)
- Distribution of the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) (PDF - 225.05 KB)
- Distribution of the critically endangered swift parrot (Lathamus discolor) (PDF - 279.22 KB)
- Distribution of the critically endangered western ground parrot, kyloring (Pezoporus flaviventris) (PDF - 189.18 KB)
- Distribution of the endangered Carnaby's cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) (PDF - 227.52 KB)
- Distribution of the endangered Coxen's fig-parrot (Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni) (PDF - 206.81 KB)
- Distribution of the endangered glossy black-cockatoo (Kangaroo Island/South Australian) (Calyptorhynchus lathami halmaturinus) (PDF - 224.97 KB)
- Distribution of the endangered golden-shouldered parrot (Psephotus chrysopterygius) (PDF - 239.42 KB)
- Distribution of the endangered night parrot (Pezoporus occidentalis) (PDF - 365.23 KB)
- Distribution of the endangered Norfolk Island green parrot (Cyanoramphus cookii) (PDF - 331.85 KB)
- Distribution of the endangered red-tailed black-cockatoo (south-eastern) (Calyptorhynchus banksii graptogyne) (PDF - 220.42 KB)
- Distribution of the vulnerable Baudin's cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus baudinii) (PDF - 189.35 KB)
- Distribution of the vulnerable forest red-tailed black-cockatoo, karrak (Calyptorhynchus banksii naso) (PDF - 217.28 KB)
- Distribution of the vulnerable green rosella (King Island) (Platycercus caledonicus brownii) (PDF - 192.18 KB)
- Distribution of the vulnerable palm cockatoo (Australian) (Probosciger aterrimus macgillivrayi) (PDF - 216.69 KB)
- Distribution of the vulnerable princess parrot or Alexandra's parrot (Polytelis alexandrae) (PDF - 304.57 KB)
- Distribution of the vulnerable regent parrot (eastern) (Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides) (PDF - 204.12 KB)
- Distribution of the vulnerable superb parrot (Polytelis swainsonii) (PDF - 242.78 KB)
- Observations of the density of native Australian non-EPBC listed species which may be affected by PBFD (PDF - 377 KB)
- Observations of the interaction of EPBC listed and non-EPBC listed parrots which may be affected by PBFD (PDF - 421.35 KB)
- Species density of native Australian non-EPBC listed species which may be affected by PBFD (PDF - 397.5 KB)
- Species Interaction of EPBC listed parrots and non listed parrots which may be affected by PBFD (PDF - 440.34 KB)
- Approved Threat abatement plans
- Ceased threat abatement plan for beak and feather disease affecting endangered psittacine species (Archived)
- Hygiene Protocols for the Prevention and Control of Diseases in Australian Birds
- Psittacine beak and feather disease (psittacine circoviral disease) - fact sheet
- Standardised Diagnostic Tests for Beak and Feather Disease Virus (BFDV)
- More about Diseases, fungi and parasites in Australia