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Are Naturalized Parrots Priority Invasive Species Warranting Control?

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Are Naturalized Parrots Priority Invasive Species Warranting Control?
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College Station, Texas, USA

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Naturalized species may be a leading threat to global biodiversity, but this contention has been hotly debated. The largest global driver of invasive species management is the Convention on Biological Diversity which called on member nations to identify priority invasive species and control or eradicate them by 2020. About 50 parrot species (15% of all species) have naturalized populations. Two species are particularly successful with over 40 populations each: Rose-ringed and Monk Parakeets. Much has been written about their negative ecological and economic impacts, and in response to their success, they have been repeatedly labeled priority invasives and targeted for control. However, our literature review suggests that few impacts have been quantified by scientific study and nearly all naturalized parrot populations have no or low-level impacts. We could find only two cases where naturalized parrots were having population level impacts on other species: Rose-ringed Parakeets displace greater noctule bats in Sevilla, Spain and slightly suppress periurban nuthatch populations in Western Europe. By comparison, the IUCN Red List shows that 1,312 species of birds and mammals are threatened by non-native invasive species, and our work suggests only two (0.15%) are being impacted by parrots. Economic impacts of naturalized parrots in the US and Europe are similarly small: naturalized parrots cause < 0.005% of the total damage caused by all invasive species combined. Given the very small relative ecological and economic impacts, we feel it is difficult to label naturalized parrots as Priority Invasive Species.
Keywords urbanization parrots invasive species conservation birds