Eradication of the mongoose is crucial for the conservation of three endemic bird species in Yambaru, Okinawa Island, Japan

Tsutomu Yagihashi, Shin Ichi Seki, Tomoki Nakaya, Katsushi Nakata, Nobuhiko Kotaka

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Okinawa Island, Japan, is a globally important biodiversity hotspot. Three endemic bird species, Okinawa rail (Hypotaenidia okinawae), Okinawa woodpecker (Dendrocopos noguchii), and Okinawa robin (Larvivora namiyei), are found only in the Yambaru region of the northern part of Okinawa Island. In order to conserve endemic species, it is important to determine the effect of alien species on endemic species. We conducted playback surveys four times every three years from 2007 to 2016 to evaluate the recent distribution of these three forest-dwelling bird species during the breeding season. Then, the association between the numbers of detections of these three species with the invasive mongoose density and the hardwood forest area was evaluated with a generalized additive mixed model (GAMM). The results showed that the distribution areas of these bird species have been recovering since the 2007 within the small Indian mongoose (Urva auropunctata) controlled area. The GAMM results showed that these bird species were abundant in areas with fewer small Indian mongooses and larger areas of hardwood forests. Thus, the mongoose had a negative impact not only on the flightless rails but also on the woodpeckers and the robins. In recent years, most of the old-growth forests have been designated as protected forests, and large-scale logging is no longer taking place in Yambaru. Eradication of the mongoose is particularly important for the conservation of these three endemic bird species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2249-2260
Number of pages12
JournalBiological Invasions
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jul


  • Avian conservation
  • Flightless bird
  • Forest area
  • Invasive species


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