What would be your alternative introduced species....??

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
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What would be your alternative introduced species....??

Postby fras444 » Thu Dec 01, 2022 7:38 am

Here is a fun discussion for you guys....

After recently moving to the Scotland and seeing so many interesting and wonderful species of birds that are fond here, it got me thinking.... Jeeze there are some amazing and beautiful species of birds that make you wonder.....
Why did the Acclimatisation groups go to all of that effort to bring over sparrows.... why not the robin or.... the Great tit!!??? (I understand there would be sedimental reasons for some over others...)

If we look at all the various acclimatisation groups that introduced birds to New Zealand..... set aside major/significant pest species that have been introduced to various countries that are known to really cause havoc with native flora and fauna.... What bird species would you chose from each of these countries and what would you have replaced them with what....??

Here is the full list of those that persisted....

rock dove
Helmeted guineafowl
Barbary dove

Common myna
Spotted dove

North America
Wild turkey
California quail

Europe/United Kingdom
Song thrush
House sparrow
Eurasian skylark
Common starling
Mute swan
Cirl bunting
Little owl
Common pheasant
Greylag goose

Cape Barren goose
Brown quail
Laughing kookaburra
Sulphur-crested cockatoo
Eastern rosella
Australian magpie

Interesting that birds have been basically brought from all four corners of the world to New Zealand
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Re: What would be your alternative introduced species....??

Postby Jan » Fri Dec 02, 2022 8:40 am

Many more species were brought from UK and Europe but didn't survive, mostly most that rely on insect food. Robins and Blue Tits included. There's a book that details all that, someone will know the Title and Author. Most of the mallard population hails from USA as the European birds almost died right out. Personally I think your question is a bit frivolous as we can have absolutely no idea what effect any introduction might have......just like the foolish acclimatisation societies didn't.
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Re: What would be your alternative introduced species....??

Postby SomesBirder » Fri Dec 02, 2022 11:27 am

The book is Gamekeepers for the Nation, I think.

I seem to remember the book saying that the reason for why the introduction of the European Robin into NZ failed was because most of the imported specimens were males, as only males have the attractive red colour. If the book did say that, then it is incorrect, because the European Robin has little to no sexual dimorphism.
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Re: What would be your alternative introduced species....??

Postby Jan » Fri Dec 02, 2022 11:52 am

That's the book. I haven't ever had a copy to read. It's by Bob McDowell, a fish enthusiast.
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Re: What would be your alternative introduced species....??

Postby RussCannings » Mon Dec 05, 2022 12:36 pm

Other passerine species introduced (but did not ultimately take hold) that I'm aware of: Brambling, Bullfinch, Crossbill, Jackdaw, Linnet, Nightingale, Reed Bunting, Robin, Siskin, Twite, Woodlark.

As for my picks (playing the game)--obviously I would never actually condone this but I think these birds would add some fun diversity to certain habitats (Sticking to North American birds, both for something fresh and my personal bias):

-Rock Ptarmigan (Nice to add another birding target to your alpine tramping trips)
-Surf Scoter (More variety of coastal areas in winter, could nest on inland lakes of Canterbury/Otago)
-Black Turnstone (We all know Kiwis love black. These guys would be a perfect year-round fit for NZ coastlines)
-Spotted Owl (Would do well hunting invasive mammals. Could possibly cause problems for Kiwi but they seem pretty hard-wired to hunting tree-climbing rodents etc. Would be ironic if this species became an invasive pest!)
-Downy Woodpecker (small cute dude for second growth mixed forest)
-Northern Flicker (All treed habitats, but nice to get some ant-eaters out there, and some cavity-creation in mohua habitat, cool bird too)
-Anna's Hummingbird (This sedentary and hardy hummer would thrive in NZ urban gardens year-round)
-American Dipper (Competition for Blue Duck but will help liven up those remote mountain streams)
-Red-breasted Nuthatch (Add some spunk to the emptyish radiata pine forests)
-Bewick's Wren (Join Dunnock as a lively/musical yet skulky lover of brushy cover across the country)
-Yellow-rumped Warbler & Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Can join silvereyes in a variety of habitats. Both hardy enough to survive NZ winters in most of the country)


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