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Aves, 46/2 | 2009 | 57-69

  A Study of the Population of Monk Parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) in Brussels
Dangoisse, G.

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Article summary

The presence of a parakeet population in Brussels, Belgium, is a part of the global upheaval of the ecosystem, linked with the invasions which have been increasing in the 19th and the 20th centuries. This species, Myiopsitta monachus, introduced in many places in the world, has remarkable adaptive capacities. The population is growing exponentially in the USA and Spain, so that it has become the most widespread Psittacidae in both of these countries. Because of this fact, it is necessary to follow the progress of the Belgian population to develop appropriate management. This Honours Thesis in biology is a first stage of assessment of the Brussels population dynamics. A nesting site, located on the Guy d'Arezzo Square in Uccle, was observed for five months, from March to July 2007, including the reproduction period. These observations show that the productivity (number of young / number of reproductive adults) is 1.7. This is similar to the values recorded in their natural distribution range. Three others nesting sites were visited occasionally to compare the trends. For both of them, the occupation of the nests was similar (the third was deserted during the study, probably linked with noisy work under the nests). In March and April 2007, 142 nesting holes were counted (in 55 nests), distributed in 10 nesting sites. The mean number of parakeets per hole was calculated at the Guy d'Arezzo Square to be 1.41 ±0.25. From these values, an estimate of the global size of the population was made: between 165 and 236 parakeets. This is much more than the 50-60 parakeets estimated in 1999 by Aves. Twenty-five nesting sites were listed since 1979: 11 were located in the second urban ring (29.9% green space) and 14 in the third urban ring (71.3%). It is in this space that the Brussels parakeet population is most likely to grow.

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