pycnonotus cafer

Invasive species pose an enormous threat in the Pacific: not only do they strongly affect biodiversity, but they also potentially affect the economic, social, and cultural wellbeing of Pacific peoples. Invasive species can potentially be managed and that their impacts can potentially be avoided, eliminated, or reduced. However, neither the costs nor the numerous benefits of management are well understood in the Pacific.

New Caledonia is a tropical archipelago of the South Pacific Ocean, and is one of the 36 world biodiversity hotspots. However, its unique biodiversity is increasingly threatened by habitat fragmentation and introductions of invasive alien species. Among these invaders, the red-vented bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer) is currently expanding towards the north of the main island. This passerine features in the IUCN-ISSG list of the 100 worst invasive species of the world because of impacts caused by its diet.

Invasive plants and animals inflict much damage on native species and this is particularly the case on isolated oceanic islands with high degrees of endemism. Such islands commonly are important refugia for species of high conservation value. Some of the most pervasive and potent of invasive animal species are birds of the myna (Acridotheres) and bulbul (Pycnonotus) genera that historically were introduced to isolated islands as biological control agents for the management of insect pest species that can cause considerable economic damage to agricultural crops and wider ecosystems.