Advertisement

Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 152, Issue 4, pp 909–921 | Cite as

Do Common Mynas significantly compete with native birds in urban environments?

  • Katie A. Lowe
  • Charlotte E. Taylor
  • Richard E. Major
Original Article

Abstract

In Australia, the introduced Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis) is commonly believed to aggressively displace native birds and outcompete them for food and nest resources. However, the current paucity of scientific evidence makes it difficult to devise appropriate management strategies for protection of urban bird populations. This study investigates the way in which the Common Myna uses the urban environment and interacts with other species while foraging and nesting in Sydney, Australia. The bird community varied between habitat types along an urbanisation gradient, and the abundance of the Common Myna increased significantly with the degree of habitat modification. Surveys of the frequency of interspecific interactions revealed that the Common Myna did not initiate a significantly greater number of aggressive encounters than did other species. Focal observations of two potential native competitors showed that despite foraging in close proximity, the Common Myna rarely interfered with feeding activity. Assessment of natural tree hollow occupancy found that Common Mynas used significantly fewer tree hollows than did native species. Analysis of nest site selection indicated that Common Mynas chose to nest in more highly modified habitats, and in artificial structures rather than in vegetation. These findings suggest that, in this study area, Common Mynas have little competitive impact on resource use by native bird species in the urban matrix. The logical conclusion of these results is that the substantial efforts currently directed towards culling of Common Mynas in heavily urbanised environments is misdirected, and resources would be better directed to improvement of natural habitat quality in these areas if the purpose of control is to enhance urban bird diversity.

Keywords

Common Myna Acridotheres tristis Competition Aggression Urban 

Zusammenfassung

Es wird allgemein angenommen, dass der nach Australien eingeführte Hirtenmaina die dort einheimischen Vögel aggressiv verdrängt und im Konkurrenzkampf um Nahrung und Nistmöglichkeiten schlägt. Aber der Mangel an wissenschaftlichen Nachweisen hierfür macht es schwierig, angemessene Strategien zum Schutz der in den Städten heimischen Vogelpopulationen auszuarbeiten und einzusetzen. In dieser Studie untersuchen wir die Art und Weise, auf die der Hirtenmaina in Sydney, Australien, das urbane Ökosystem nutzt und mit anderen Spezies bei der Futteraufnahme und den Nistaktivitäten interagiert. Die Vogelgesellschaft variierte zwischen einzelnen Habitat-Typen entlang eines Verstädterungs-Gradienten, und das Auftreten des Hirtenmainas nahm signifikant mit dem Ausmaß der Habitat-Veränderungen zu. Untersuchungen zur Häufigkeit zwischenartlicher Interaktionen ergaben, dass der Hirtenmaina nicht signifikant mehr aggressive Aktionen als andere Arten unternahm. Spezielle Beobachtungen zweier einheimischer, potentieller Konkurrenten zeigten, dass sich trotz Nahrungssuche in unmittelbarer Nähe zueinander der Hirtenmaina nur selten störend in die Nahrungssuche einmischte. Die Überprüfung der Belegung natürlicher Baumhöhlen ergab, dass der Hirtenmaina signifikant weniger Baumhöhlen nutzte als die einheimischen Arten. Eine Analyse der Auswahl von Nistplätzen ließ vermuten, dass der Hirtenmaina bevorzugt in stärker modifizierten Habitaten und eher in künstlichen Strukturen als in Vegetation nistet. All’ diese Ergebnisse legen nahe, dass der Hirtenmaina in dem hier untersuchten Gebiet, einem Stadtbiotop, für die einheimischen Vögel eine nur geringe Konkurrenz um Ressourcen darstellt. Die Schlussfolgerung hieraus ist, dass die derzeitigen substantiellen Bemühungen zur Ausrottung des Hirtenmainas in stark verstädterten Biotopen vergeudet sind und die Ressourcen besser in die Qualitäts-Verbesserung der natürlichen Habitate investiert werden sollten, wenn es darum geht, die Vielfalt der einheimischen urbanen Vögel zu erhöhen.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Daniel Lowe, Adrian Davis and Jenna Lowe for field assistance and the Australian Museum and Birds Australia for providing data from the Birds in Backyards program (http://www.birdsinbackyards.net). We are also grateful to Jenna Lowe for helpful comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript.

References

  1. Alberti M, Botsford E, Cohen A (2001) Quantifying the urban gradient: linking urban planning and ecology. In: Marzluff JM, Bowman R, Donnelly R (eds) Avian ecology and conservation in an urbanizing world. Kluwer, Norwell, pp 89–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barrett G (2003) The new atlas of Australian birds. Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union, Hawthorn EastGoogle Scholar
  3. Benson D, Howell J (1990) Sydney's vegetation 1788–1988: utilization, degradation and rehabilitation. Proc Ecol Soc Aust 16:115–127Google Scholar
  4. Bibby CJ (1992) Bird census techniques. Academic, LondonGoogle Scholar
  5. Blair RB (1996) Land use and avian species diversity along an urban gradient. Ecol Appl 6:506–519CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blair RB (2001) Creating a homogeneous avifauna. In: Marzluff JM, Bowman R, Donnelly R (eds) Avian ecology and conservation in an urbanising world. Kluwer, Norwell, pp 459–486CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bomford M, Sinclair R (2002) Australian research on bird pests: impact, management and future directions. Emu 102:29–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bridgman H, Warner R, Dodson J (1995) Urban biophysical environments. Oxford University Press, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  9. Cameron E (1985) Habitat usage and foraging behaviour of three fantails (Rhipidura: Pachycephalidae). In: Keast A, Recher H, Ford H, Saunders D (eds) Birds of eucalypt forests and woodlands: Ecology, conservation, management. Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union and Surrey Beatty, Chipping Norton, pp 177–191Google Scholar
  10. Case T (1996) Global patterns in the establishment and distribution of exotic birds. Biol Conserv 78:69–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chace J, Walsh J (2006) Urban effects on native avifauna: a review. Landsc Urban Plan 74:46–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Clarke M, Oldland J (2007) Penetration of remnant edges by noisy miners (Manorina melanocephala) and implications for habitat restoration. Wildl Res 34:253–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Clarke KR, Warwick RM (1994) Change in marine communities: an approach to statistical analysis and interpretation. Natural Environment Research Council, PlymouthGoogle Scholar
  14. Clergeau P, Savard J-PL, Mennechez G, Falardeau G (1998) Bird abundance and diversity along an urban-rural gradient: a comparative study between two cities on different continents. Condor 100:413–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Clergeau P, Croci S, Jokimaki J, Kaisanlahti-Jokimaki M-L (2006) Avifauna homogenisation by urbanisation: analysis at different European latitudes. Biol Conserv 127:336–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Counsilman J (1974) Breeding biology of the Indian myna in city and aviary. Notornis 21:318–333Google Scholar
  17. Crisp H, Lill A (2006) City slickers: habitat use and foraging in urban common mynas Acridotheres tristis. Corella 30:9–15Google Scholar
  18. Crooks KR, Suarez A, Bolger D (2004) Avian assemblages along a gradient of urbanisation in a highly fragmented landscape. Biol Conserv 115:451–462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dhanda SK, Dhindsa M (1996) Breeding performance of Indian myna Acridotheres tristis in nestboxes and natural sites. Ibis 138:788–790Google Scholar
  20. Dunn RR, Gavin MC, Sanchez MC, Solomon JN (2006) The pigeon paradox: dependence of global conservation on urban nature. Conserv Biol 20:1814–1816PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gallasch R (2010) Bird used for pests is now a pest. St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, 2 February 2010. http://www.theleader.com.au/news/local/news/general/bird-used-for-pests-is-now-a-pest/1740119.aspx. Accessed 16 September 2010
  22. Gibbons P, Lindenmayer D (2002) Tree hollows and wildlife conservation in Australia. CSIRO, CollingwoodGoogle Scholar
  23. Green RJ (1984) Native and exotic birds in a suburban habitat. Aust Wildl Res 11:181–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Grey M, Clarke M, Loyn R (1997) Initial changes in the avian communities of remnant eucalypt woodlands following a reduction in the abundance of noisy miners, Manorina melanocephala. Wildl Res 24:631–648CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hahs AK, McDonnell MJ (2006) Selecting independent measures to quantify Melbourne’s urban-rural gradient. Landsc Urban Plan 78:438–448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Harper MJ, McCarthy MA, van der Ree R (2005) The use of nest boxes in urban natural vegetation remnants by vertebrate fauna. Wildl Res 32:509–516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hodgkison S, Hero J-M, Warnken J (2007) The conservation value of suburban golf courses in a rapidly urbanising region of Australia. Landsc Urban Plan 79:323–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Indian Myna Bird Project (2007) www.indianmyna.org. Accessed 16 September 2010
  29. Kavanagh R, Stanton M (1998) Nocturnal forest birds and arboreal marsupials of the southwestern slopes, New South Wales. Aust Zool 30:449–466Google Scholar
  30. Keddy PA (2001) Competition. Kluwer, DordrechtCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Local Government Association of New South Wales (2005) Record of decisions: annual conference 2005. Local Government Association of New South Wales, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  32. Local Government Association of New South Wales (2006) Record of decisions: annual conference 2006. Local Government Association of New South Wales, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  33. Long JL (1981) Introduced birds of the world: the worldwide history, distribution and influence of birds introduced to new environments. David & Charles, Newton AbbotGoogle Scholar
  34. Lunney D, Burgin S (2004) Urban wildlife management: an emerging discipline. In: Lunney D, Burgin S (eds) Urban wildlife: more than meets the eye. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, pp 1–7Google Scholar
  35. MacDonald MA, Kirkpatrick J (2003) Explaining bird species composition and richness in eucalypt-dominated remnants in subhumid Tasmania. J Biogeogr 30:1415–1426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Major R, Christie F, Gowing G (2001) Influence of remnant and landscape attributes on Australian woodland bird communities. Biol Conserv 102:47–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Maron M, Kennedy S (2007) Roads, fire and aggressive competitors: determinants of bird distribution in subtropical production forests. For Ecol Manag 240:24–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Martin W (1996) The current and potential distribution of the common myna Acridotheres tristis in Australia. Emu 96:166–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Marzluff JM (2001) Worldwide urbanisation and its effects on birds. In: Marzluff JM, Bowman R, Donnelly R (eds) Avian ecology and conservation in an urbanising world. Kluwer, Norwell, pp 19–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Melles S, Glenn S, Martin K (2003) Urban bird diversity and landscape complexity: species-environment association along a multiscale habitat gradient. Conserv Ecol 7(1):5 [online] url: http://www.consecol.og/vol7/iss1/art5 Google Scholar
  41. Miller JR, Hobbs RJ (2002) Conservation where people live and work. Conserv Biol 16:330–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Natural Heritage Trust (2001) Australian native vegetation assessment 2001/national land and water resources audit. Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. ACT, TurnerGoogle Scholar
  43. New T (2006) Conservation biology in Australia: an introduction. Oxford University Press, South MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  44. Newey P (2007) Foraging behaviour of the common myna (Acridotheres tristis) in relation to vigilance and group size. Emu 107:315–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Nunes MFC, Galetti M (2007) Use of forest fragments by blue-winged macaws (Primolius maracana) within a fragmented landscape. Biodivers Conserv 16:953–967CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Parsons H, French K, Major R (2003) The influence of remnant bushland in the composition of suburban bird assemblages in Australia. Landsc Urban Plan 66:43–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Parsons H, Major RE, French K (2006) Species interactions and habitat associations of birds inhabiting urban areas of Sydney, Australia. Austral Ecol 31:217–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pell AS, Tidemann CR (1997a) The ecology of the common myna in urban nature reserves in the Australian Capital Territory. Emu 97:141–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Pell AS, Tidemann CR (1997b) The impact of two exotic hollow-nesting birds on two native parrots in savannah and woodland in eastern Australia. Biol Conserv 79:145–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Perry A (2008) Native bird threat a myna matter. Hawkesbury Gazette 23 June 2008 p 13. http://www.hawkesburygazette.com.au/news/local/news/news-features/native-bird-threat-a-myna-matter/526921.aspx. Accessed 16 September 2010
  51. Piper SD, Catterall CP (2003) A particular case and a general pattern: hyperaggressive behavior by one species may mediate avifaunal decrease in fragmented Australian forests. Oikos 101:602–614CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Pizzey G, Knight F (2007) The field guide to the birds of Australia. Harper Collins, PymbleGoogle Scholar
  53. Saunders DL, Heinsohn R (2008) Winter habitat use by the endangered, migratory swift parrot (Lathamus discolor) in New South Wales. Emu 108:81–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Saunders D, Smith G, Rowley I (1982) The availability and dimensions of tree hollows that provide nest sites for cockatoos (Psittaciformes) in Western Australia. Aust Wildl Res 9:541–556CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sengupta S (1976) Food and feeding ecology of the common myna, Acridotheres tristis (Linn.). Proc Indian Natl Sci Acad Part B 42:338–345Google Scholar
  56. Sewell SR, Catterall CP (1998) Bushland modification and styles of urban development: their effects on birds in south-east Queensland. Wildl Res 25:41–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Simpson K, Day N (2004) Field guide to the birds of Australia. Viking, VictoriaGoogle Scholar
  58. Soule ME (1990) The onslaught of alien species, and other challenges in the coming decades. Conserv Biol 4:233–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Stewart J, Smart R, Barry S, Veitch S (2001) 1996/97 Land use of Australia—final report for project BRR5. National Land and Water Resources Audit, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  60. Thomas A (2004) Myna Fightback ABC Science 8 Apr 2004. www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2004/04/08/2044900.htm. Accessed 16 September 2010
  61. Thompson J (2002) Scientists declare war on Indian Myna. ABC 7.30 Report 1 July 2002. http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2002/s595922.htm. Accessed 16 September 2010
  62. Thompson H, Fotso R (2000) Conservation of two threatened species: Picathartes. Ostrich 71:154–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Thompson C, Arthur B, Gilmour D (2005) WildWatch 2: pest of Australia award. Australian Broadcasting Corporation, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  64. UN Department of Economic, Social Affairs (2008) World urbanisation prospects: the 2007 revision. United Nations, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  65. Van Heezik Y, Smyth A, Mathieu R (2008) Diversity of native and exotic birds across an urban gradient in a New Zealand city. Landsc Urban Plan 87:223–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Weir LK, Grant JW (2004) The causes of resource monopolisation: interaction between resource dispersion and mode of competition. Ethology 110:63–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. White JG, Antos MJ, Fitzsimons JA, Palmer GC (2005) Non-uniform bird assemblages in urban environments: the influence of streetscape vegetation. Landsc Urban Plan 71:123–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Wood K (1996) Bird assemblages in a small public reserve and adjacent residential area at Wollongong, New South Wales. Wildl Res 23:605–620CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katie A. Lowe
    • 1
  • Charlotte E. Taylor
    • 1
  • Richard E. Major
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Terrestrial EcologySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations