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The effect of the small Indian mongoose (Urva auropunctatus), island quality and habitat on the distribution of native and endemic birds on small islands within Fiji.

Authors
  • Morley, Craig G1
  • Winder, Linton
  • 1 School of Forestry and Primary Industries, Waiariki Institute of Technology, Rotorua, New Zealand. [email protected] , (New Zealand)
Type
Published Article
Journal
PLoS ONE
Publisher
Public Library of Science
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2013
Volume
8
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053842
PMID: 23349751
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

This study investigated the effect of the presence of introduced mongoose, environmental quality and habitat on the distribution of native and endemic birds on 16 small islands within Fiji. In total, 9055 birds representing 45 species were observed within four key habitats (forest, villages, crop land and coastal vegetation) on the 16 islands, half of which had mongoose present. Previous studies attribute bird declines and extirpation anecdotally to the mongoose. The presence of mongoose, environmental quality and habitat type had a measurable influence on observed extant native and endemic bird communities. We conclude that three ground birds; Gallirallus phillipensis, Anas supericiliosa and Porphyrio porhyrio were negatively influenced by the presence of mongoose and that Ptilinopus perousii, Phigys solitarius, Chrysoenas victor, Ducula latrans, Clytorhyrchus vitiensis, Pachycephala pectoralis, Prospeia tabunesis, and Foulehaio carunculata were particularly dependent on good quality forest habitat. Conservation priorities in relation to protecting Fiji's endemic birds from the effect of mongoose are discussed and preventative measures suggested.

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