The Common Myna: 'Is It Benign or Is It a Pariah?'

To: CanberraBirds <>
Subject: The Common Myna: 'Is It Benign or Is It a Pariah?'
From: "David McDonald (personal)" <>
Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2012 09:38:55 +1000
Readers of the Canberra Times will have seen the article about Kate Grarock's research on Common Mynas in Canberra.

The paper to which it refers is Grarock, K, Tidemann, CR, Wood, J & Lindenmayer, DB 2012, 'Is It Benign or Is It a Pariah? Empirical Evidence for the Impact of the Common Myna Acridotheres tristis on Australian Birds', PLoS One, vol. 7, no. 7, p. e40622.

It is available in free full text at .

The abstract reads:
There is widespread concern over the impact of introduced species on biodiversity, but the magnitude of these impacts can be variable. Understanding the impact of an introduced species is essential for effective management. However, empirical evidence of the impact of an introduced species can be difficult to obtain, especially when the impact is through competition. Change in species abundance is often slow and gradual, coinciding with environmental change. As a result, negative impacts on native species through competition are poorly documented. An example of the difficulties associated with obtaining empirical evidence of impact due to competition comes from work on the Common Myna (<italic>Acridotheres tristis</italic>). The species is listed in the World’s top 100 worst invaders, despite a lack of empirical evidence of its negative impacts on native species. We assessed the impact of the Common Myna on native bird abundance, using long-term data both pre and post its invasion. At the outset of our investigation, we postulated that Common Myna establishment would negatively affect the abundance of other cavity-nesting species and bird species that are smaller than it. We found a negative relationship between the establishment of the Common Myna and the long-term abundance of three cavity-nesting species (Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Crimson Rosella, Laughing Kookaburra) and eight small bird species (Striated Paradoxes, Rufous Whistler, Willie Wagtail, Grey Fantail, Magpie-lark, House Sparrow, Silvereye, Common Blackbird). To the best of our knowledge, this finding has never previously been demonstrated at the population level. We discuss the key elements of our success in finding empirical evidence of a species impact and the implications for prioritisation of introduced species for management. Specifically, prioritization of the Common Myna for management over other species still remains a contentious issue.

Regards - David
David McDonald
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