Impact assessment of seven alien invasive bird species already introduced to South Africa

  • Tinyiko C. Shivambu
  • Ndivhuwo Shivambu
  • Colleen T. DownsEmail author
Original Paper


Globally, various avian species have been introduced accidentally and deliberately by humans through different pathways. Some of these species were able to establish, multiply, and become invasive. In this study, we identified areas that are climatically suitable for seven introduced invasive bird species and assessed the environmental and socio-economic impacts associated with the selected bird species in South Africa. We used present distribution records to predict potential climatic suitability distributions and used the Generic Impact Scoring Scheme to assess the impacts associated with seven invasive bird species in South Africa. We found that all the seven species were climatically suitable to South Africa and Passer domesticus, Sturnus vulgaris, and Anas platyrhynchos each had relatively large climatic suitability distributions. The climatic suitability for all the species was within their occurrence ranges in and outside South Africa. For impact assessments, we found that all seven selected species had impacts, with A. platyrhynchos, Acridotheres tristis, Columba livia, and Psittacula krameri having the highest overall impacts respectively. The socio-economic impact ranked higher than environmental impact for all species. The socio-economic impacts were frequently through agricultural production and human infrastructure, while the environmental impact was mostly through impacts of birds on other animals and competition. These need to be incorporated in decision-making and eradication plans for these alien invasive birds in South Africa.


Alien invasive birds Climatic matching GISS Environmental impact Socio-economic impacts Impact assessment 



We are grateful to the National Research Foundation (NRF) (ZA), the University of KwaZulu-Natal (ZA), and the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology, University of Stellenbosch (ZA) for funding. We thank the Ford Wildlife Foundation (ZA) for vehicle support and the eThekwini Municipality (ZA) for providing lists of invasive species under their management plan. We thank Moleseng Claude Moshobane for comments on the manuscript, and the reviewers for their constructive comments on the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 113 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (XLSX 46 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Excellence in Invasion Biology, and Centre for Functional Biodiversity, School of Life SciencesUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalScottsville, PietermaritzburgSouth Africa

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