Impact of invasive cane toads on Australian birds

Beckmann, Christa and Shine, Richard 2009, Impact of invasive cane toads on Australian birds, Conservation biology, vol. 23, no. 6, pp. 1544-1549, doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01261.x.

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Title Impact of invasive cane toads on Australian birds
Author(s) Beckmann, ChristaORCID iD for Beckmann, Christa
Shine, Richard
Journal name Conservation biology
Volume number 23
Issue number 6
Start page 1544
End page 1549
Total pages 6
Publisher Blackwell Scientific Publications
Place of publication Boston, Mass.
Publication date 2009
ISSN 0888-8892
Keyword(s) Australia
Avian predators
Cane toad
Invasive species
Toxic prey
Summary The cane toad (Bufo marinus), a large, toxic, American anuran, was introduced to Australia in 1935. Populations of many of Australia's reptiles (snakes, varanid lizards, crocodiles) and carnivorous mammals (dasyurid marsupials) have declined because these predators are killed by the toad's powerful toxins. In contrast to these well-studied species, little is known about the cane toads impacts on Australian birds. We reviewed published and unpublished data on behavioral interactions between Australian avian predators and cane toads and collated distributional and dietary information to identify avian taxa potentially at risk from cane toad invasion. Cane toads are sympatric with 172 frog-eating bird species in Australia, and an additional 8 bird species overlap with the predicted future range of the toad. Although many bird species thus are potentially at risk, behavioral observations suggest the risk level is generally low. Despite occasional reports of Australian birds being killed when they ingest cane toads, most birds either ignore toads or survive the predation event. The apparently higher tolerance of Australian birds to toad toxins, compared with Australian reptiles and marsupials, may reflect genetic exchange between Australian birds and Asian populations that encounter other bufonid species regularly and hence have evolved the capacity to recognize or tolerate this toxic prey. 
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01261.x
Field of Research 050103 Invasive Species Ecology
050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
060201 Behavioural Ecology
Socio Economic Objective 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2009, Society for Conservation Biology
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