Relative influence of habitat modification and interspecific competition on woodland bird assemblages in eastern Australia

Martine Maron, A. Main, Michiala Bowen, Alison Howes, Jarrod KATH, C. Pillette, Clive McAlpine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Many of eastern Australia's woodland birds have declined in recent decades. Although historical landscape transformation ultimately underlies these declines, effective conservation action requires knowledge of the relative importance of current threats to woodland birds. Through a literature review and analysis of empirical data from seven woodland regions, we investigated the relative importance of habitat structure, site context and aggressive avian competitors (miners, Manorina spp.) for woodland birds in eastern Australia. The literature review revealed that the factor which most consistently influenced the richness, abundance and assemblage composition of woodland birds was the density or presence of Manorina honeyeaters. A positive effect of site structural complexity was also often reported, but the effects of area, isolation and grazing varied among the reviewed studies. Across the seven empirical datasets, density of Manorina honeyeaters was responsible for the great majority of the independently explained variance in all but one region. We conclude that interspecific competition with Manorina honeyeaters is one of the most important and widespread processes threatening woodland birds in eastern Australia. In regions where this threatening process is prevalent, the greatest conservation gains for woodland birds may therefore be achieved by focussing on reducing habitat suitability for aggressive Manorina honeyeaters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-51
Number of pages12
JournalEmu: austral ornithology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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