Interspecific sociality alters the colonization and extinction rates of birds on subtropical reservoir islands

Ari E. Martínez, Xingfeng Si*, Liping Zhou, Di Zeng, Ping Ding, Eben Goodale*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Island biogeography theory has proved a robust approach to predicting island biodiversity on the assumption of species equivalency. However, species differ in their grouping behaviour and are entangled by complex interactions in island communities, such as competition and mutualism. We here investigated whether intra- and/or interspecific sociality may influence biogeographic patterns, by affecting movement between islands or persistence on them. We classified bird species in a subtropical reservoir island system into subcommunities based on their propensity to join monospecific and mixed-species flocks. We found that subcommunities which had high propensity to flock interspecifically had higher colonization rates and lower extinction rates over a 10-year period. Intraspecific sociality increased colonization in the same analysis. A phylogenetically corrected analysis confirmed the importance of interspecific sociality, but not intraspecific sociality. Group-living could enable higher risk crossings, with greater vigilance also linked to higher foraging efficiency, enabling colonization or long-term persistence on islands. Further, if group members are other species, competition can be minimized. Future studies should investigate different kinds of island systems, considering positive species interactions driven by social behaviour as potential drivers of community assembly on islands. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Mixed-species groups and aggregations: shaping ecological and behavioural patterns and processes’.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20220096
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1878
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2023


  • animal sociality
  • community assembly
  • facilitation
  • metacommunities
  • mixed-species animal groups
  • priority effects


Dive into the research topics of 'Interspecific sociality alters the colonization and extinction rates of birds on subtropical reservoir islands'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this