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To assess the impact of habitat fragmentation on tropical avian communities, we sampled lowland forest birds on six land-bridge islands and two mainland forest sites in Lake Kenyir, Peninsular Malaysia using timed point counts, hypothesizing that insectivorous birds are the worst affected guild. We used an information-theoretic approach to evaluate the effects of area, isolation, primary dietary guild (omnivore, frugivore and insectivore) and their interactions in predicting species richness, abundance and diversity. Our analysis showed that a model that considered the effects of area, dietary guild and their interaction best explained observed patterns of species richness. But a model considering both area and dietary guild best explained the variation in abundance. Notably, insectivorous birds were singled out as the dietary guild most sensitive to fragmentation, followed by frugivorous and omnivorous birds and hence provide support for our hypothesis. Assemblages of insectivorous birds were clearly depauperate on anthropogenic forest islands in Lake Kenyir and are consistent with forest fragmentation studies in the Neotropics. Given their specialized foraging ecology and diversity, conservation of intact communities of insectivorous bird guilds in Malaysia will be critical for maintaining predator–prey interactions in lowland tropical forests.
Biological invasions are a major environmental concern due to their negative impacts on biodiversity and economics. We determined the population sizes and habitat-abundance relationships of the three most successful invasive bird species in Singapore: the house crow Corvus splendens, white-vented myna Acridotheres javanicus and common myna A. tristis. Estimated population sizes of the three species between February 2000 and February 2001 were between 106 000-176 000, 122 000-155 000 and 20 000-29 000, respectively. Population size of the house crow grew dramatically (>30-fold) in the last 15-16 y while that of the white-vented and common myna declined. Habitat-abundance relationships suggest that house crows are highly dependent on anthropogenic food. Their abundance was also positively related to proximity to coast. The common myna associated closely with agricultural areas while the white-vented myna probably preferred urban greenery among residential buildings. Our study shows that the three invasive bird species associated with different aspects of human-modified environment.
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