Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris expansion in South Africa
The Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris has progressively expanded its range in South Africa since its introduction into Cape Town in the late 19th century. In the past few decades it has extended this range into Gauteng province. Using data from the Southern African Bird Atlas Project 2, this paper examines the spread and relative abundance changes for the species across South Africa over the past 10 years, with a detailed look at the recently-colonised Gauteng. Across South Africa, the Common Starling's distribution has shifted, and grown. As it spreads north along the coastline and northwards inland, some of the former range has been lost. In Gauteng, the species has shown a range and abundance expansion over the same period. If the observed trends are to continue, this species is likely to eventually become a prominent species across the entire country, and further north into the sub-region. However, the potential impact that this species has on indigenous avifauna is unknown and, in the face of rapid anthropogenic change, remains to be investigated.
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