Identifying the factors that determine the severity and type of alien bird impacts
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Aim: To identify traits related to the severity and type of environmental impacts generated by alien bird species, in order to improve our ability to predict which species may have the most damaging impacts. Location: Global. Methods: Information on traits hypothesized to influence the severity and type of alien bird impacts was collated for 113 bird species. These data were analysed using mixed effects models accounting for phylogenetic non-independence of species. Results: The severity and type of impacts generated by alien bird species are not randomly distributed with respect to their traits. Alien range size and habitat breadth were strongly associated with impact severity. Predation impacts were strongly associated with dietary preference, but also with alien range size, relative brain size and residence time. Impacts mediated by interactions with other alien species were related to alien range size and diet breadth. Main conclusions: Widely distributed generalist alien birds have the most severe environmental impacts. This may be because these species have greater opportunity to cause environmental impacts through their sheer number and ubiquity, but this could also be because they are more likely to be identified and studied. Our study found little evidence for an effect of per capita impact on impact severity.