Foraging behaviour and habitat partitioning in sympatric invasive birds in French Polynesia
|Title||Foraging behaviour and habitat partitioning in sympatric invasive birds in French Polynesia|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2014|
|Authors||Bates, JH, Spotswood, EN, Russell, JC|
|Type of Article||Full Article|
|Keywords||feeding stations, French Polynesia, Mo’orea, Passeriformes, sympatric species, tropical invasion, vigilance|
Interactions among invasive bird species have received relatively little attention despite the potential important consequences for community dynamics and invasion spread. Where species occupy similar environments the outcome may be particularly unpredictable. In this study we examined the foraging behaviours of 2 sympatric invasive birds in Mo’orea, the common myna (Acridotheres tristis) and the red-vented bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer), to determine if they exhibit behavioural or habitat partitioning. We investigated the ratio of foraging to vigilance behaviour of both species at novel food stations, as well as the effects of foraging group size and species composition on their behaviour. While the myna and bulbul exhibit similar behaviour, sites where they occur were partitioned within habitats. Novel food stations however, encouraged foraging at the cost of vigilance behaviours. Behaviours were not influenced by conspecific group size, and intraspecific interactions were more frequent, and of a greater intensity than interspecific interactions. These results suggest that the 2 species minimise competitive interactions by occupying different sites within the same habitat, and prioritise food acquisition in a new environment. Sympatric introduced species may avoid competitive exclusion if habitat usage limits the frequency of interactions.