The diets of feral pigs and feral goats shot on the main Auckland Island in 1989 are described from analyses of stomach and rumen contents. Feral goats ate at least 50 species of plants, but only three, Metrosideros umbellata, Chionochloa antarctica, and Durvillea antarctica made up over 50% by dried weight of the food eaten. Feral pigs ate a mixed plant and animal diet, of which plants made up 61% of the diet, with the megaherb Anisotome antipoda being the largest dietary item at 38% by dried weight.
The yellowhead, a forest-dwelling passerine endemic to the South Island of New Zealand, has declined in both abundance and range since the arrival of European settlers last century. In the last 30 years it has all but disappeared from the northern half of the South Island but remains widespread in the south. One possible explanation is that the yellowhead has declined in abundance throughout its range, disappearing from less suitable habitats in which it was never very abundant. To test this hypothesis a habitat suitability index was constructed and northern and southern forests compared.
Species-rich moth faunas at two sites in a montane tussock grassland at Cass show major declines in the abundance of many common species between 1961-63 and 1987-89, furthering a 50- to 70-year trend. The recent faunal record (202 species) is quantified by a 3-point light-trapping methodology based on independence of serial samples, minimised sample variability and a posteriori data standardisation. An historical record of vegetation change is also presented, pointing to a major decline in endemic herb species with the advances of an adventive grass, Agrostis capillaris.
The heathland vegetation of northern New Zealand is usually regarded as a "derived" vegetation type resulting from forest destruction during the Maori and European periods of settlement. Plant species cover-abundance data from sample quadrats in the Far North are analysed using Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA) and Two-way Indicator Species Analysis (TWINSPAN) and are then correlated with soil nutrient data. Variations in species composition of heaths appear to be related primarily to soil type. Age since last fire is also important but was not examined in detail in this study.
Kaka (Nestor meridionalis meridionalis) studied in Big Bush State Forest spent 35% of their feeding time digging out Ochrocydus huttoni larvae from live mountain beech trunks (Nothofagus solandri: var. cliffortioides).
Larvae of O. huttoni had a high energy value compared to that of other insects. The assimilation efficiency for energy of two captive kaka was 91 j: 3% when fed a diet of O. huttoni.
We quantify the notion of predictable species loss from progressively smaller islands, and apply the quantification to the indigenous forest-dwelling birds of a series of New Zealand islands and to the passerines of the Cyclades Archipelago in the Aegean Sea. The analysis focuses on the reasons why the species-area relationship deviates from a perfect rank-correlation. For both avifaunas, most species are found remarkably predictably: they approximate a pattern in which each species occupies all those and only those islands larger than some species-specific minimum area.
This paper considers how habitat geometry affects New Zealand bird distributions on land-bridge islands, oceanic islands, and forest patches. The data base consists of distributions of 60 native land and freshwater bird species on 31 islands. A theoretical section examines how species incidences should vary with factors such as population density, island area, and dispersal ability, in two cases: immigration possible or impossible. New Zealand bird species are divided into water-crossers and non-crossers on the basis of six types of evidence.
It will be necessary to establish reserves for the conservation of New Zealand's forest avifauna largely in the absence of detailed autecological studies. Hence the empirical findings of island biogeography may provide the best available guide to the reserve size necessary for the preservation of both species communities and individual species.