Response of forest birds to rat eradication on Kapiti Island, New Zealand

Five-minute bird counts were used to determine whether the eradication of Pacific rats or kiore (Rattus exulans) and Norway rats (R. norvegicus) from Kapiti Island in 1996 had any measurable impact on the diurnal forest bird community. Counts undertaken quarterly from April 1999 to January 2001 were compared with counts undertaken using the same methodology from April 1991 to January 1994. At least four species appear to have increased since rat eradication: red-crowned parakeet (Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae), robin (Petroica australis), saddleback (Philesturnus carunculatus), and bellbird (Anthornis melanura). None of the 15 species investigated showed evidence of a consistent decline since rat eradication, although two (tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) and tomtit (Petroica macrocephala)) were less conspicuous than in 1991-1994 in four of the eight count sessions completed to date. Weka (Gallirallus australis) were adversely affected by the rat poisoning operation, but had recovered to pre-eradication levels by 1999. The present series of counts will be completed in January 2002.

Author Miskelly, C. and Robertson, H.
Year 2002
Secondary title International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives
Publisher Invasive Species Specialist Group IUCN
Pages 410-410
Control method Baiting
Region NZ