Biological Invasions

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 429–445 | Cite as

The complex interaction network among multiple invasive bird species in a cavity-nesting community

  • Yotam Orchan
  • François Chiron
  • Assaf Shwartz
  • Salit KarkEmail author
Original Paper


Alien invasive species have detrimental effects on invaded communities. Aliens do not invade a vacuum, but rather a community consisting of native and often other alien species. Our current understanding of the pathways and network of interactions among multiple invasive species within whole communities is limited. Eradication efforts often focus on a single target species, potentially leading to unexpected outcomes on interacting non-target species. We aimed to examine the interaction network in a cavity-nesting community consisting of native and invasive birds. We studied the nesting cavities in the largest urban park in Israel over two breeding seasons. We found evidence for a complex interaction network that includes negative, neutral and positive interactions, but no synergistic positive interactions among aliens. Three major factors shaped the interaction network: breeding timing, nesting preferences and the ability to excavate or widen the cavities, which were found to be a limited resource. Cavity enlargement by the early-breeding invasive rose-ringed parakeet may enhance breeding of the invasive common myna in previously unavailable holes. The myna excludes the smaller invasive vinous-breasted starling, a direct competitor of the primary nest excavator, the native Syrian woodpecker. Therefore, management and eradication efforts directed towards the common myna alone may actually release the vinous-breasted starling from competitive exclusion by the common myna, increasing the negative impact of the vinous-breasted starling on the native community. As found here, interactions among multiple alien species can be crucial in shaping invasion success and should be carefully considered when aiming to effectively manage biological invasions.


Biological invasions Biotic homogenization Cavity network Common myna Invasion meltdown Invasive birds Multi-species interactions Rose-ringed parakeet Urban park 



We thank E. Banker, R. Ben-David, S. Darawshi, O. Hatzofe, T. Kahn, N. Melamed, and N. Sapir for their help in the field, N. Levin for help with GIS, the Yarkon Park management and workers and especially Z. Lapid for their cooperation. Richard Fuller, John Kappes, Jr., Walter Koenig, John Maron and two anonymous reviewers provided helpful comments on earlier versions of the paper. Last, but not least, our thanks to all the bird-watchers who helped us in the bird and cavity surveys and especially to H. Katz and the children from the Ga’ash School of Environmental Studies for their help in field work. This work was supported by grants to S. Kark from the Israel Ministry of Science and Technology.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yotam Orchan
    • 1
    • 2
  • François Chiron
    • 1
    • 3
  • Assaf Shwartz
    • 1
    • 3
  • Salit Kark
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.The Biodiversity Research Group, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, The Silberman Institute Life SciencesThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.The Movement Ecology Lab, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, The Silberman Institute Life SciencesThe Hebrew University of Jerusalem JerusalemIsrael
  3. 3.Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Conservation des Espèces, Restauration et Suivi des PopulationsUMR 7204 MNHN-CNRS-UPMCParisFrance
  4. 4.ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, School of Biological SciencesThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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