Emu Emu Society
Journal of BirdLife Australia
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Nesting, foraging and aggression of Noisy Miners relative to road edges in an extensive Queensland forest

Martine Maron

A Australian Centre for Sustainable Catchments & Department of Biological and Physical Sciences, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Qld 4350, Australia.

B Current address: The University of Queensland, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia. Email: m.maron@uq.edu.au

Emu 109(1) 75-81 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MU08064
Submitted: 23 November 2008  Accepted: 22 December 2008   Published: 10 March 2009

Abstract

Increased abundance of Noisy Miners (Manorina melanocephala), a large, aggressive honeyeater, is one of the most important mechanisms through which habitat fragmentation and degradation threaten populations of eastern Australian woodland birds. In inland Queensland, however, Noisy Miners dominate avian assemblages throughout extensive forest areas as well as fragmented landscapes, and our understanding of the factors influencing their behaviour and habitat selection in such relatively intact landscapes is limited. I investigated how road edges influenced Noisy Miners by comparing the species’ aggressive and foraging behaviour, and location of nests, between road-edge and interior transects in a southern Queensland forest. I also investigated Noisy Miner foraging microhabitat preferences and targets of aggression. Noisy Miner nests were more likely to be located near to road edges, but foraging and aggressive interactions occurred with similar frequency near and far from road edges. Such interactions selectively targeted close competitors and a nest predator. Most foraging activity was in the canopy, and selectively within ironbarks (Eucalyptus spp.), suggesting that higher densities of Noisy Miners in more open areas of the forest are unlikely to be related to facilitation of ground-foraging activity. Despite some evidence of a preference for nesting near road openings, road edges do not appear to influence Noisy Miners as strongly as edges between forest and agricultural land do elsewhere in eastern Australia.

Additional keywords: Brigalow belt, competition, interspecific aggression, nest location, roads.


References

Arnold K. E. 2000 Strategies of the cooperatively breeding Noisy Miner to reduce nest predation. Emu 100 280 285 doi:10.1071/MU9909

Barrett, G. W., Silcocks, A., and Cunningham, R. (2002). ‘Australian Bird Atlas (1998–2001), Supplementary Report No. 1 – Comparison of Atlas 1 (1977–81) and Atlas 2 (1998–2001).’ (Birds Australia: Melbourne.)

Catterall, C. P., Piper, S., and Goodall, K. (2002). Noisy Miner irruptions associated with land use by humans in south east Queensland: causes, effects and management implications. In ‘Landscape Health in Queensland’. (Eds A. Franks, J. Playford and A. Shapcott.) pp. 117–127. (Royal Society of Queensland: Brisbane.)

Clarke M. F. Oldland J. M. 2007 Penetration of remnant edges by noisy miners (Manorina melanocephala) and implications for habitat restoration. Wildlife Research 34 253 261

Dow D. D. 1977 Indiscriminate interspecific aggression leading to almost sole occupancy of space by a single species of bird. Emu 77 115 121


Dow D. D. 1979 Agonistic and spacing behavior of the Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala: a communally breeding honey-eater. Ibis 121 423 436
doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.1979.tb06683.x

Eyre T. J. Maron M. Mathieson M. T. Haseler M. in press Impacts of grazing, selective logging and hyper-aggressors on diurnal bird fauna in intact forest landscapes of the Brigalow Belt, Queensland. Austral Ecology

Ford H. A. Bell H. 1980 Density of birds in eucalypt woodland affected to varying degrees by dieback. Emu 81 202 208


Fulton G. R. 2008 A possible territorial and nesting association between Pied and Grey Butcherbirds Cracticus nigrogularis and C. torquatus and the Yellow-throated Miner Manorina flavigula. Corella 32 30 34


Grey M. J. Clarke M. F. Loyn R. H. 1998 Influence of the Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala on avian diversity and abundance in remnant Grey Box woodland. Pacific Conservation Biology 4 55 69


Hastings R. A. Beattie A. J. 2006 Stop the bullying in the corridors: can including shrubs make your revegetation more noisy miner free? Ecological Management & Restoration 7 105 112
doi:10.1111/j.1442-8903.2006.00264.x

Higgins, P. J. (Ed.) (1999). ‘Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Vol. 4: Parrots to Dollarbird.’ (Oxford University Press: Melbourne.)

Higgins, P. J., and Peter, J. M. (Eds) (2002). ‘Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Vol. 6: Pardalotes to Shrike-thrushes.’ (Oxford University Press: Melbourne.)

Higgins, P. J., Peter, J. M., and Steele, W. K. (Eds) (2001). ‘Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Vol. 5: Tyrant-flycatchers to Chats.’ (Oxford University Press: Melbourne.)

Higgins, P. J., Peter, J. M., and Cowling, S. J. (Eds) (2006). ‘Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Vol. 7: Boatbill to Starlings.’ (Oxford University Press: Melbourne.)

Kath, J., Maron, M., and Dunn, P. K., Interspecific competition and small bird diversity in an urbanising landscape. Landscape and Urban Planning, in press.

Loyn, R. H. (1987). Effects of patch area and habitat on bird abundances, species numbers and tree health in fragmented Victorian forests. In ‘Nature Conservation: The Role of Remnants of Native Vegetation’. (Eds D. A. Saunders, G. W. Arnold, A. A. Burbidge and A. J. M. Hopkins.) pp. 65–77. (Surrey Beatty & Sons: Sydney.)

Loyn R. H. 2002 Patterns of ecological segregation among forest and woodland birds in south-eastern Australia. Ornithological Science 1 7 27 doi:10.2326/osj.1.7

Loyn R. H. Runnalls R. G. Forward G. Y. Tyers J. 1983 Territorial Bell Miners and other birds affecting populations of insect prey. Science 221 1411 1413 doi:10.1126/science.221.4618.1411

Marchant, S., and Higgins, P. J. (Eds) (1993). ‘Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Vol. 2: Raptors to Lapwings.’ (Oxford University Press: Melbourne.)

Maron M. 2007 Threshold effect of eucalypt density on an aggressive avian competitor. Biological Conservation 136 100 107 doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2006.11.007

Maron M. Kennedy S. 2007 Roads, fire and aggressive competitors: determinants of bird distribution in subtropical production forests. Forest Ecology and Management 240 24 31 doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2006.11.017

Paton P. W. C. 1994 The effect of edge on avian nest success: how strong is the evidence? Conservation Biology 8 17 26 doi:10.1046/j.1523-1739.1994.08010017.x

Piper S. D. Catterall C. P. 2003 A particular case and a general pattern: hyperaggressive behaviour by one species may mediate avifaunal decreases in fragmented Australian forests. Oikos 101 602 614 doi:10.1034/j.1600-0706.2003.12292.x

Poiani A. Rogers A. Rogers K. Rogers D. 1990 Asymmetrical competition between the Bell Miner (Manorina melanophrys, Meliphagidae) and other honeyeaters: evidence from south-eastern Victoria, Australia. Oecologia 85 250 256 doi:10.1007/BF00319410

Recher H. F. Majer J. D. Ganesh S. 1996 Eucalypts, arthropods and birds: on the relation between foliar nutrients and bird species richness. Forest Ecology and Management 85 177 195 doi:10.1016/S0378-1127(96)03758-9

Taylor R. S. Oldland J. M. Clarke M. F. 2008 Edge geometry influences patch-level habitat use by an edge specialist in south-eastern Australia. Landscape Ecology 23 377 389 doi:10.1007/s10980-008-9196-9



Export Citation