The impact of urbanisation on avian species: The inextricable link between people and birds

Abstract

This study investigates the impact of urbanisation on birdlife in a major city. Line transects and point counts were used to survey birds in three habitat types: parkland, residential areas and business/industrial areas. Abundance, richness and diversity of assemblages were determined for all bird species and for those birds native to the area. Behaviours of birds, and of human residents in relation to birds, in these urban areas were documented, including all instances of avian aggression. Bird species, including a subset of native bird species, have greater abundance and richness in parklands. Overall species diversity is greatest in residential habitat types, but native diversity is greatest in parklands. Introduced species are most abundant in business/industrial habitat types. The most frequent aggressive encounters were initiated by noisy miners Manorina melanocephalas, one of the four most common species throughout all habitat types (other common species include the rainbow lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus, rock dove Columba livia and common myna Sturnus tristis). Other behaviours involved birds utilising food and roost resources and were classified as being caused by active and passive human behaviours. These outcomes indicate that local changes to the environment can impact the bird species by providing different food and roost resources. Human residents and local governments have a range of tools to modify the diversity of urban areas. Further research is needed to determine alternative definitions of modification, such as defining it as open space, and investigating the health of the avian populations in urban areas.

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Acknowledgements

The authors express gratitude to the local government areas, City of Sydney and Marrickville Councils, who provided mapping information and advice throughout the study. The base map for ArcGIS was provided by Geoscience Australia (2005).

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Correspondence to Lucy Taylor.

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Taylor, L., Taylor, C. & Davis, A. The impact of urbanisation on avian species: The inextricable link between people and birds. Urban Ecosyst 16, 481–498 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-012-0283-y

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Keywords

  • Urban ecosystem
  • Urbanisation
  • Biodiversity
  • Wildlife diversity
  • Introduced species