Biological Invasions

, 12:87 | Cite as

Relationship between the presence of House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) and Neotropical bird community structure and diversity

  • Ian MacGregor-ForsEmail author
  • Lorena Morales-Pérez
  • Javier Quesada
  • Jorge E. Schondube
Original Paper


Invasive exotic species pose an important threat to biodiversity worldwide. However, there is little information on the effects that specific exotic bird species have on native biota. The House Sparrow is an excellent ecological model to evaluate the effect that an invasive exotic species has on native bird communities. Our study describes the relationship of the presence and abundance of House Sparrows with the structure, diversity, and composition of native bird communities in West Mexico. We used two approaches to compare House Sparrow invaded and non-invaded bird communities: (1) at a small geographic-scale that allowed us to evaluate shifts in avian communities with presence of the House Sparrow under similar environmental conditions; and (2) at the landscape-level to evaluate the effect of this species under a scenario of greater environmental heterogeneity. Results from both approaches show that areas invaded by House Sparrows have heavily-dominated avian communities with low species richness, while non-invaded areas exhibit highly-even and species-rich bird communities. Species turnover analysis indicates that the decrease in the number of bird species in House Sparrow invaded areas is caused by species loss, rather than a shift in species composition. Our results indicate that the invasion of an area by the House Sparrow, through synergistic interactions with human activities, determines the composition, structure, and diversity of native bird communities.


House Sparrow Exotic species Human-altered ecosystems Urban ecology Bird communities Biodiversity 



We thank Carlos A. Chávez-Zichinelli, Mónica V. Orduña, and Nubia Medina for assistance in the field. Dr Katherine Renton, Dr Po and two anonymous reviewers greatly enriched the structure and content of our manuscript. Research funds were granted to J.E.S. by the Megaproyecto: Manejo de Ecosistemas y Desarrollo Humano—Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (SDEI-PTID-02), and PAPIIT Project (IN228007-3). I.M-F., as part of the Posgrado en Ciencias Biológicas of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, received a Master’s scholarship from CONACYT (203142) for his Master’s Degree project (203142). J.Q. was supported by a Grant for Foreign Researchers from the Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores de México.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian MacGregor-Fors
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lorena Morales-Pérez
    • 1
  • Javier Quesada
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jorge E. Schondube
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de Investigaciones en EcosistemasUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMoreliaMéxico
  2. 2.Institut Català d’Ornitologia. Museu de Ciències Naturals de la CiutadellaBarcelonaSpain

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