island ecosystems

A conservation paradox: endangered and iconic flightless kagu (Rhynochetos jubatus) apparently escape feral cat predation

The kagu (Rhynochetos jubatus) is an iconic endemic flightless bird from New Caledonia, red-listed as endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) criteria. Feral cats are among the most successful and damaging invaders for island biodiversity. They have been directly responsible for the extinction of numerous birds worldwide, especially small- and medium-sized flightless species.

Legacy of avian-dominated plant–herbivore systems in New Zealand

Avian herbivores dominated New Zealand’s pre-settlement terrestrial ecosystems to an unparalleled extent, in the absence of a terrestrial mammal fauna. Approximately 50% (88 taxa) of terrestrial bird species consumed plant foliage, shoots, buds and flowers to some degree, but fewer than half these species were major herbivores. Moa (Dinornithiformes) represent the greatest autochthonous radiation of avian herbivores in New Zealand. They were the largest browsers and grazers within both forest and scrubland ecosystems.