The abundance and the presence of common cuckoos Cuculus canorus have been shown to predict species richness of birds across Europe, while there are no such analyses available for other continents where species richness of parasitic cuckoos is larger. Here, we tested whether species richness of birds increased with the number of cuckoo species in two study areas in China and one in Japan. We also tested whether species richness of birds can be predicted by the number of cuckoo individuals. Furthermore, we compared the strength of association between overall bird species richness and species richness of cuckoos, Paridae, Corvidae, and birds of prey. This is the first study demonstrating that cuckoo species richness is more strongly associated with overall bird species richness than richness of species belonging to other families, and rather than occurrence of a single cuckoo species, as already demonstrated for the common cuckoo in Europe. The number of cuckoo species was positively associated with both non‐host and host species richness. We found evidence of the number of cuckoo species being associated with species richness of birds independently of country and year, while abundance of individual cuckoos was not a statistically significant predictor. Furthermore, we showed that richness of host species is strongly positively correlated with overall bird species richness in both countries. This implies that the high species richness of cuckoos in South‐East Asia is a reliable predictor of overall bird species richness.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Published in Ecosphere, Volume 8, Issue 11, 2017, pages e02003-.
© 2017 Møller et al.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Møller, A. P., Morelli, F., Benedetti, Y., Mousseau, T., Su, T., Zhou, B., Tryjanowski, P., & Liang, W. (2017). Multiple species of cuckoos are superior predictors of bird species richness in Asia. Ecosphere, 8(11), e02003.