Arthropod prey of shelterbelt-associated birds: linking faecal samples with biological control of agricultural pests

Sagrario Gamez-Virues, Ronald, S. Bonifacio, Geoff Gurr, Cilla Kinross, Anantanarayanan Raman, Helen I. Nicol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The value of insectivorous birds as agents for biological control of arthropod pests has been little studied, especially in Australia. This paper reports on the extent to which arthropods from various pest and non-pest taxa feature in the diets of birds captured in farm shelterbelts in central western New South Wales. The parameters examined were the types of arthropod fragments in bird faeces and percentage volume and frequency of occurrence of each component. The faecal data were compared with samples of the arthropod fauna trapped in shelterbelts during the period the birds were captured. In 26 of 29 faecal samples, arthropod fragments were the predominant components, the most common being from Coleoptera, Hymenoptera (especially Formicidae), Orthoptera and Araneae. The recognisable pest taxa in faecal samples were Scarabaeidae and wingless grasshopper Phaulacridium vittatum (Sjöstedt) (Orthoptera: Acrididae). The results indicate that the native bird species common in farm shelterbelts preyed on a range of arthropod taxa including several that are pests of crops and pastures. Accordingly, conservation of birds in farmlands could contribute to suppression of arthropod pests.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-331
Number of pages7
JournalAustral Entomology
Volume46
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007

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