Book of the Week: Avian Invasions

What is Book of the Week? See the first Book of the Week post.

Avian Invasions: The Ecology & Evolution of Exotic Birds

AvianInvasionsby Tim M. Blackburn, Julie L. Lockwood and Phillip Cassey. Oxford Avian Biology Series Volume 1. Published by Oxford University Press, 2009.

Shelfmark: CI/IV/020 (Conservation Issues–Invasive Species–20th book in this section)

We continue our Book of the Week series with a book to recognise the second annual Invasive Species Week (29 February – 6 March 2016). Avian Invasions is the first book in the Oxford Avian Biology Series, and as the title suggests, focuses on avian invasive species. If birds aren’t your thing, you’ll find the invasive species section shelved at CI/IV in the Leventis Library with plenty of non-avian titles. Come and have a browse!

Avian Invasions draws together a large volume of primary research available up to the time of it’s publication (2009) and uses numerous examples and data to illustrate and reinforce the theory presented. The chapters are split up into short sections making this a good book to dip in to if you just need an overview of one small topic. However, the writing style is easily readable, so reading a whole chapter, or even cover-to-cover, would not be arduous. For those of us who like to think visually, the numerous graphs and illustrations also ease interpretation.


As people have spread around the world, they have taken with them a broad range of other species to satisfy a variety of human needs. Some of these species have subsequently established wild populations well outside their native ranges. These biological invaders are a major component of current global change, and often represent threats fo the maintenance of global biodiversity, human health, and the success of human economic enterprises. The continuing globalization of our society ensures that the need to understand the process of biological invasion will only increase in the future. There is also a growing recognition that the study of biological invaders provides sufficient insight into basic questions in ecology and evolution.

Exotic birds provide an ideal opportunity to study the causes and consequences of biological invasions. By combining the good historical record of bird introductions with the detailed information available on many other aspects of avian biology, this book advances our understanding of the invasion process while also exploring avian conservation biology, and basic principles of ecology and evolution. Avian Invasions covers the history of exotic bird introductions, the contributions of exotic bird study to basic ecology, and the post-establishment genetics and evolution of introduced bird populations. The result is the most comprehensive picture yet of the invasion process.

This accessible text is aimed at professional avian biologists and ornithologists, invasion ecologists, and graduate students of ecology, evolution, and conservation.


  1. Introduction to the Study of Exotic Birds
  2. Transport and Introduction
  3. The Role of Contingency in Establishment Success
  4. The Role of Species Traits in Establishment Success
  5. The Role of Location in Establishment Success
  6. Geographic Range Expansion of Exotic Birds
  7. The Ecology of Exotic Birds in Novel Locations
  8. The Genetics of Exotic Bird Introductions
  9. The Evolution of Exotic Birds
  10. Lessons from Exotic Birds

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