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Random Question about introduced UK species in Australia

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Old Thursday 25th January 2018, 17:54   #1
interoception
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Random Question about introduced UK species in Australia

I was reading the 2000 Edition of Michael Morecombe's "Field Guide to Australian Birds" last night, battling against flu-induced insomnia.

I was interested that the Victorians introduced lots of species that now seem to be doing quite well, e.g. Sparrows, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Starlings etc, the list goes on.

Noticed that Blue Tits (& other tits) not on the list. As a UK favorite bird, I'm wondering why they aren't on the list. Did the Victorians not take any over? Or did they fail to thrive? Is the book "wrong"?? What motivated the Victorian's choice to export UK birds??

thanks!
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Old Thursday 25th January 2018, 19:11   #2
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My understanding is that blue tits as a common garden bird are relatively modern. It was only with the expansion of the suburbs in the 1930s and post war that these woodland edge birds moved into gardens. Most of the "popular" Victorian birds were those kept as cage birds.
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Old Friday 26th January 2018, 07:22   #3
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That's very interesting, thank you.
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Old Friday 26th January 2018, 10:36   #4
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There was a failed attempt at introducing Blue Tit into New Zealand (and Canada I think). I read somewhere that just for Western Australia more than 50 species were part of attempted introductions - but only 14 or so were successful. Often there were repeated attempts at introducing a species. There were societies formed to try and establish species to make Australia feel more like home.

The list of species involved is quite alarming considering the impact that successful introductions have had.

The rationale for introductions varied - apart from trying to make things more familiar - there was also a tendency to respond to insect or other pests by introducing species which they thought would eradicate them.

I'll post some links if I can dig them out.

Here's one about NZ

https://teara.govt.nz/en/introduced-land-birds/page-1

This list covers introductions worldwide but I don't know how comprehensive it is.

en.wikipedia.org/.../List_of_introduced_bird_species


Lots of historical info here

www.birdlife.org.au/documents/SOAB-2006.pdf

Last edited by Torchepot : Friday 26th January 2018 at 10:50.
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Old Friday 26th January 2018, 12:22   #5
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Also looking at the list and thinking about method of transport - it would have been a lot easier supplying seed-eaters and omnivores with enough food on the voyage compared to insectivores.
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Old Friday 26th January 2018, 12:49   #6
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Short term I think blue tits could survive on Sunflower seeds and suet, but they may not have been in prime condition on arrival.

Dunnock was successfully introduced to NZ I believe - what it's diet was during the journey I have no idea.


One thing that did occur to me - as far as I remember there are very few small hole nesting birds in Australia? Maybe competition with nocturnal native mammals - like sugar glider (and all those parrots)? If so - another factor in making introductions difficult.

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Old Friday 26th January 2018, 14:03   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torchepot View Post
Short term I think blue tits could survive on Sunflower seeds and suet, but they may not have been in prime condition on arrival.

Dunnock was successfully introduced to NZ I believe - what it's diet was during the journey I have no idea.


One thing that did occur to me - as far as I remember there are very few small hole nesting birds in Australia? Maybe competition with nocturnal native mammals - like sugar glider (and all those parrots)? If so - another factor in making introductions difficult.
Blue Tits time their nesting to coincide with the emergence of some native catterpillars I believe so how would they have that inherited clock in Australia?

I always found it strange that there are no Woodpeckers in Australia despite their abundance fairly close by.



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Old Friday 26th January 2018, 14:21   #8
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Originally Posted by andyadcock View Post

I always found it strange that there are no Woodpeckers in Australia despite their abundance fairly close by.



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Do they occur East of Wallace's line?
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Old Friday 26th January 2018, 14:49   #9
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Do they occur East of Wallace's line?
Only in Sulawesi I think. There are none in New Guinea.
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Old Friday 26th January 2018, 15:06   #10
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Do they occur East of Wallace's line?
Sulawesi Pygmy Woodpecker Picoides temminckii occurs east of Kalimantan, Borneo. Then there's Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker Picoides maculatus; Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker Picoides moluccensis occurs as far as Pulau Alor, adjacent to Timor Leste where woodpeckers are absent.

Perhaps a later radiation took some species beyond the Wallace Line?
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PS I have photographed a woodpecker in Queensland, Australia, but it was the logo of 'Woodpecker Tool Hire'...
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Old Friday 26th January 2018, 17:37   #11
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Wryneck must be at least a potential vagrant to the north coast of Australia?
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Old Saturday 27th January 2018, 00:40   #12
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If you said Wryneck showed up on Antarctica I'd probably believe you .
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Old Saturday 27th January 2018, 03:29   #13
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Maybe I should have been more transparent.

There are no woodpeckers in Australia for the same reason that there are no barbets, pheasants, (native) bulbuls, fruit-thrushes (leafbirds), trogons and most placental mammals. Discovering and studying this phenomenon eventually helped Wallace to the same conclusions about evolution that Darwin got most of the credit for.

He wrote in the Malay Archipelago:-

‘It is well known that the natural productions of Australia differ from those of Asia more than those of any of the four ancient quarters of the world differ from each other. Australia in fact stands alone: it possesses no apes or monkeys, no cats or tigers, wolves, bears or hyenas; no deer or antelopes; no sheep or oxen; no elephant, horse, squirrel or rabbit. Instead of these, it has marsupials only, kangaroos and opossums, wombats and the duck-billed platypus. In birds it is almost as peculiar.’

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Old Saturday 27th January 2018, 07:27   #14
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Maybe I should have been more transparent.

There are no woodpeckers in Australia for the same reason that there are no barbets, pheasants, (native) bulbuls, old world thrushes, trogons and most placental mammals.
I know what you mean but there are two native Zoothera thrushes in Australia.
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Old Saturday 27th January 2018, 07:41   #15
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My mistake - checked the original quote and it said fruit-thrushes which I interpreted wrongly. Don't know what fruit-thrushes are?

Might it be more accurate to say here are no Turdus thrushes?

Last edited by Torchepot : Saturday 27th January 2018 at 07:49.
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Old Saturday 27th January 2018, 07:59   #16
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My mistake - checked the original quote and it said fruit-thrushes which I interpreted wrongly. Don't know what fruit-thrushes are?

Might it be more accurate to say here are no Turdus thrushes?
According to this by Wallace, Phyllornis, a synonym of Chloropsis (leafbirds).

Another dictionary suggests bulbuls.
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Old Saturday 27th January 2018, 08:04   #17
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Thanks Nutty - leafbirds makes sense.

I've amended the post accordingly.

Last edited by Torchepot : Saturday 27th January 2018 at 09:08.
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Old Saturday 27th January 2018, 17:12   #18
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Out of interest: what is the full list of birds which British tried to introduce to Australia but failed?
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Old Saturday 27th January 2018, 19:29   #19
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You can get a good idea if you google this :- List of introduced bird species - Wikipedia

But I'm not sure if it's comprehensive.
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Old Sunday 28th January 2018, 20:42   #20
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Searching for further information on introduced species I came across this extremely detailed account of the attempted introductions to New Zealand. An interesting insight into the mindset and activities of the Acclimatisation Societies.

http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/schol...-body1-d7.html

Many hundreds (more likely thousands) of birds and mammals of many different species were part of introduction attempts with a horribly low survival rate during the journey.

I'm surprised to find that wren, robin, brambling and even cuckoo are amongst those mentioned and in other accounts blackcap, and whitethroat.

One thing that struck me was this passage - surprised that this misconception should persist in the 1980s

The English robin has a much more prosaic reason for failure. Richard Bills brought out the robin, on his own account, to sell to his customers. A canny businessman, he brought out only the red-breasted cock; who would pay good money for the drab little hen?

Last edited by Torchepot : Monday 29th January 2018 at 07:02.
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