Isotopic niche overlap between the invasive leiothrix and potential native competitors

Pagani–Núñez, E.  Renom, M.  Furquet, C.  Rodríguez, J.  Llimona, F.  Senar, J. C. 


We analysed niche overlap between the red–billed leiothrix Leiothrix lutea, a spreading exotic invasive bird, and the European robin Erithacus rubecula and the blackcap Sylvia atricapilla, similar native species, which are commonly considered as potential competitors in Mediterranean forests. We analyzed stable isotope ratios (δ13C and δ15N) from feathers of birds sampled in several locations within the Collserola mountain range (Barcelona, NE Spain) where leiothrix have strongly increased their numbers in the last decade and quantified niche overlap with nicheROVER. Blackcap individuals showed the lowest probability to be found in the isotopic niche of the other two species (around 60 %), while leiothrix and robins showed a high probability to share the same isotopic niche (82 %). Our results stress that competition for resources is potentially high and the species shared marked niche asymmetries, which may have implications for community dynamics in the long term.

Key words

Interspecific competition, Niche overlap, Niche asymmetries, Red–billed leiothrix, Stable isotopes

Reception date: 29 VI 18 | Data d\'acceptció: 05 IX 18 | Publication date: 21 IX 18

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