The role of a synanthropic bird in the nest niche expansion of a secondary cavity nester to man-made structures

Jing Chia Guo, Jo Szu Tsai, Jhih Syuan Wang, Ya Wen Lin, Pei Jen Lee Shaner*, Chih Ming Hung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Species with similar ecological characters often compete with each other; however, a species may also facilitate the survival or reproduction of another ecologically similar species, although such interaction is rarely documented in birds. Here, we reported a facilitative species interaction between Asian house martins (Delichon dasypus) and russet sparrows (Passer cinnamomeus), both passerines using closed nests, in a montane farming area of Taiwan. We found that Asian house martins constructed dome-shaped nests in human houses that provided additional nest sites for russet sparrows, secondary cavity nesters with greatly declining populations in Taiwan. Russet sparrows that used house martin nests had reproductive success comparable to those that used artificial nest boxes. However, Asian house martins avoided reclaiming sparrow-used nests, which reduced their available nest sites. Interestingly, our results imply that man-made structures may be used as a conservation tool to improve the breeding of the endangered russet sparrows via this facilitative interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere9188
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Aug


  • Asian house martin
  • facilitation
  • russet sparrow
  • secondary cavity nester

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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