Emu Emu Society
Journal of BirdLife Australia
RESEARCH ARTICLE

The Common Myna (Sturnus tristis) in urban, rural and semi-rural areas in Greater Sydney and its surrounds

Julie M. Old A B , Ricky-John Spencer A and Jack Wolfenden A

A University of Western Sydney, Native and Pest Animal Unit, School of Science and Health, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: j.old@uws.edu.au

Emu 114(3) 241-248 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MU13029
Submitted: 9 January 2013  Accepted: 13 August 2013   Published: 6 June 2014

Abstract

Common Myna (Sturnus tristis, formerly Acridotheres tristis) is one of Australia’s most readily identified pest species and have been implicated in the reduction of native fauna. This study aimed to determine the distribution, habitat use and roost site selection of Mynas on the urban fringes of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, as well as the avian species composition of areas in which Mynas occurred. The information was gathered with a view to estimating the impact of this invasive species on native avifauna. In total 3661 birds were counted in 1349 km of survey transects in western Sydney. Mynas were the most abundant bird recorded in the surveys, and exotic species accounted for 41% of all birds counted, but only 20% of the total number of species. Comparison of distribution data across habitat types suggests that Mynas do not extend far beyond urban habitats, and Mynas were primarily observed in suburban–industrial areas, small suburban reserves or sporting grounds and roadsides in semi-rural areas. Differences in sex-specific size distribution of Mynas occurred in semi-rural and urban areas. Urban areas also contained higher densities of preferred roosting trees with dense canopies, suggesting Myna populations have been aided by historical urban planning and landscaping. Together these data suggest that Mynas are likely to affect urban-dwelling native avifauna and that careful urban planning may reduce their distribution and potentially their impact.


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