Influence of the Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala on avian diversity and abundance in remnant Grey Box woodland
Merilyn J. Grey, Michael F. Clarke and Richard H. Loyn
Pacific Conservation Biology
4(1) 55 - 69
AbstractThe abundance of an aggressive Australian honeyeater, the Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala, was reduced at four small (<8 ha) Grey Box Eucalyptus microcarpa woodland remnants by experimental removal. The diversity and abundance of small insectivorous and nectarivorous birds increased at three of the four sites (relative to matching control sites) over the twelve months following the removal of the Noisy Miners. The one exception occurred at a pair of sites where eucalypts began flowering at one site and finished at the other during the Noisy Miner removal period. These results, taken together with those from three earlier experiments where the abundance of Noisy Miners was reduced in Mugga Ironbark E. Sideroxylon woodland remnants, demonstrate that Noisy Miners affect avian diversity and abundance by aggressive exclusion of other species. In five out of seven experiments, Noisy Miners did not reinvade the small woodland remnants during the ensuing twelve months. When Noisy Miner abundance was reduced, increased populations of small insectivorous and nectarivorous birds used small degraded woodland remnants. Colonizing populations of small birds have the potential to reduce insect infestations and may assist in the recovery of dieback-affected woodland remnants. Research is continuing to test this hypothesis. Reducing the abundance of Noisy Miners in remnant eucalypt woodlands may also be a useful, short-term measure, which could assist in the recovery of threatened or endangered bird species.
© CSIRO 1998