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18 October 2017 Native marsupials as egg predators of artificial ground-nests in Australian woodland
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Abstract

Reviews of nest predation call for the identification of nest predators. The identity of nest predators is perhaps most poorly known for ground-nesting birds. Marsupials are not generally regarded as potential nest-predators of these birds, partly because the biology of rare Australian marsupials is not fully understood due to their rarity. This study identified three marsupials – boodie (Bettongia lesueur), woylie (Bettongia penicillata) and brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) – taking eggs from artificial nests modelled on that of the threatened painted button-quail (Turnix varius). Approximately one-third of the eggs were taken by the two bettongs and another third by the brushtail possum. I present dietary evidence of bettongs consuming vertebrate items including taking live prey to provide external validation for the notion that they may depredate natural nests. I suggest that more research is required on the impacts of reintroductions to avoid deleterious effects on resident species.

© CSIRO 2017
Graham R. Fulton "Native marsupials as egg predators of artificial ground-nests in Australian woodland," Australian Journal of Zoology 65(3), 196-199, (18 October 2017). https://doi.org/10.1071/ZO17038
Received: 17 May 2017; Accepted: 1 October 2017; Published: 18 October 2017
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