Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Impact assessment of seven alien invasive bird species already introduced to South Africa.

Abstract

Globally, various avian species have been introduced accidentally and deliberately by humans through different pathways. Some of these species were able to establish, multiply, and become invasive. In this study, we identified areas that are climatically suitable for seven introduced invasive bird species and assessed the environmental and socio-economic impacts associated with the selected bird species in South Africa. We used present distribution records to predict potential climatic suitability distributions and used the Generic Impact Scoring Scheme to assess the impacts associated with seven invasive bird species in South Africa. We found that all the seven species were climatically suitable to South Africa and Passer domesticus, Sturnus vulgaris, and Anas platyrhynchos each had relatively large climatic suitability distributions. The climatic suitability for all the species was within their occurrence ranges in and outside South Africa. For impact assessments, we found that all seven selected species had impacts, with A. platyrhynchos, Acridotheres tristis, Columba livia, and Psittacula krameri having the highest overall impacts respectively. The socio-economic impact ranked higher than environmental impact for all species. The socio-economic impacts were frequently through agricultural production and human infrastructure, while the environmental impact was mostly through impacts of birds on other animals and competition. These need to be incorporated in decision-making and eradication plans for these alien invasive birds in South Africa.