Australian arrives at Melbourne airport with illegal migrant birds down his trousers

The exodus from Dubai as the emirate is hit by a wave of construction project cancellations has taken an unlikely turn.

An Australian man has been caught with two live pigeons stuffed down his trousers, customs officials at Melbourne airport have said.

The 23-year-old arrived at the city on flight from Dubai and was searched after authorities discovered two eggs in a vitamin container in his luggage.

They found the pigeons wrapped in padded envelopes and held to each of his legs with a pair of tights.

Australia has strict quarantine regulations covering wildlife, plants and food imports. Charges of wildlife smuggling carry a maximum penalty of 10 years.