When more is less : urban remnants support high bird abundance but diversity varies
Fitzsimons, James A., Antos, Mark J. and Palmer, Grant C. 2011, When more is less : urban remnants support high bird abundance but diversity varies, Pacific conservation biology, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 97-109.
Urban remnant vegetation, especially where it occurs in public parks, allows for relatively easy access for ongoing biodiversity monitoring. However, relatively little baseline information on bird species distribution and abundance across a range of identifiable urban remnants appears in the published literature. We surveyed the relative abundance and distribution of birds across urban and suburban remnant vegetation in Melbourne, Australia. One hundred and six species were recorded, of which 98 were indigenous. Red wattlebirds had the highest mean relative abundance with 2.94 birds/ha, followed by rainbow lorikeets (2.51), noisy miners (1.93), brown thornbills (1.75) and spotted doves (0.96). There was no obvious trend between overall relative abundance and the size of the remnant, in contrast to species richness which was positively correlated with remnant size. The data revealed that some species were either totally restricted to, or more abundant in, larger remnants and generally absent from smaller remnants. Some of the more common birds (crimson rosella, superb fairy-wren, spotted pardalote and black-faced cuckoo-shrike) recorded during this study were detected at similar densities to those found in comparable vegetation to the east of Melbourne within a largely forested landscape. Other species occurred at much lower densities (e.g., white-browed scrubwren, brown thornbill, eastern yellow robin and grey fantail) or had habitat requirements or ecological characteristics that could place them at risk of further decline or local extinction in the urban area. We identify a suite of bird species of potential conservation concern within Melbourne’s urban landscape. The establishment of repeatable, fixed-point, and long-term monitoring sites will allow for repeat surveying over time and provide an early warning of population declines, or conversely an indication of population increase for other species.
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Field of Research
060202 Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology) 060208 Terrestrial Ecology 060207 Population Ecology
Socio Economic Objective
960812 Urban and Industrial Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity