A case of natural recovery after the removal of invasive predators - community assemblage changes in the avifauna of Burgess Island
|Title||A case of natural recovery after the removal of invasive predators - community assemblage changes in the avifauna of Burgess Island|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2014|
|Authors||Ismar, SMH, Baird, KA, Gaskin, CP, Taylor, GA, Tennyson, AJD, Rayner, MJ, Bettesworth, D, Fitzgerald, N, Landers, TJ, Imber, MJ|
|Type of Article||Full Article|
Opportunities to monitor natural island ecosystem recovery following the eradication of introduced predators are rare, and provide a useful comparison for recovery programmes aided by active habitat restoration and species translocations. We present an assessment of the current avifauna on Burgess Island, Mokohinau Group, 2 decades after kiore (Pacific rat; Rattus exulans) removal. The 4 most abundant land bird species we recorded are red-crowned parakeet (Cyanorhamphus novaezelandiae), bellbird (Anthornis melanura), tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) and silvereye (Zosterops lateralis), all New Zealand native taxa. Our records confirm that 46 species now utilize the island’s habitats, compared with 24 species reported from the literature during the last decades of rat infestation. We also confirm breeding of 9 seabird species by 2011, only 4 of which maintained breeding populations on Burgess Island prior to rat eradication. More than 20 years after predator removal, Burgess Island hosts a rich avifauna, and provides a valuable example of natural recovery following predator eradication without any further active restoration measures.