The wildlife pet trade as a driver of introduction and establishment in alien birds in Taiwan
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The global trade in alien cage birds is flourishing and is considered to be one of the major routes by which species are entrained into the human-mediated invasion pathway. Here, we explore the likely influence of the wild bird trade on alien bird invasions in Taiwan. Specifically, we analyse the characteristics of alien bird species that have been successfully introduced and established at large in the wild. We use phylogenetic regression models to compare the traits of alien species recorded in the cage bird trade in Taiwan that have (or have not) subsequently been recorded at large in the wild, and the traits of species recorded in the wild that have (or have not) established (species identified in the Breeding Bird Survey in Taiwan). Alien species were more likely to be recorded as successfully introduced if they were commonly for sale in the Taiwanese pet bird trade, and possessed songs considered to be more attractive to people. Species that have been sold in the pet market for a longer period were also more likely to have been recorded in the wild. Establishment success was more likely for large-bodied bird species, but not strongly related to other predicted determinants of success, including proxies for propagule pressure and climate matching. We conclude that the pet trade influences bird invasions in Taiwan by determining which species are exposed to novel environments there, but which of those introduced species goes on to establish may depend more on their intrinsic life histories.
- RESEARCH: CIB Associates