Australian Journal of Zoology Australian Journal of Zoology Society
Evolutionary, molecular and comparative zoology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Native marsupials as egg predators of artificial ground-nests in Australian woodland

Graham R. Fulton
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia, and School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, South Street Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia. Email: grahamf2001@yahoo.com.au

Australian Journal of Zoology 65(3) 196-199 https://doi.org/10.1071/ZO17038
Submitted: 17 May 2017  Accepted: 8 October 2017   Published: 18 October 2017

Abstract

Reviews of nest predation call for the identification of nest predators. The identity of nest predators is perhaps most poorly known for ground-nesting birds. Marsupials are not generally regarded as potential nest-predators of these birds, partly because the biology of rare Australian marsupials is not fully understood due to their rarity. This study identified three marsupials – boodie (Bettongia lesueur), woylie (Bettongia penicillata) and brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) – taking eggs from artificial nests modelled on that of the threatened painted button-quail (Turnix varius). Approximately one-third of the eggs were taken by the two bettongs and another third by the brushtail possum. I present dietary evidence of bettongs consuming vertebrate items including taking live prey to provide external validation for the notion that they may depredate natural nests. I suggest that more research is required on the impacts of reintroductions to avoid deleterious effects on resident species.

Additional keywords: bettong, boodie, reintroduction, woylie.


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