Factors determining the number of land bird species on Islands around South-Western Australia
- Cite this article as:
- Abbott, I. Oecologia (1978) 33: 221. doi:10.1007/BF00344850
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New evidence from the passerine faunas of islands off Southwestern Australia agrees with the hypothesis that the passerine faunas of Australian and New Zealand islands are impoverished because most passerine species are poor colonizers. Dispersal of landbirds onto Carnac Island near Perth was infrequent, and many of those species that arrived were represented by single birds. Comparison of similarly structured island and mainland habitats showed that island habitats still have fewer passerine bird species than mainland habitats. Island bird faunas are more stable over short periods of time than over long periods; this is contrary to island avifaunas in the Northern Hemisphere.
The following features typify the avifaunas of Australian islands: immigration of species of land birds occurs infrequently; (natural) extinction is rare; and the degree of saturation of the avifaunas is low. Without more direct evidence, competitive interactions should not be invoked to account for the species poverty of these insular avifaunas.