Biodiv Sci ›› 2023, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (3): 22399.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2022399

• Original Papers: Animal Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Use of native and alien plants during night roosting by urban birds in Beijing

Yexi Zhao, Jiayu Zhang, Zihan Li, Qinmijia Xie, Xin Deng, Nan Wang()   

  1. School of Ecology and Nature Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083
  • Received:2022-07-13 Accepted:2022-11-24 Online:2023-03-20 Published:2023-01-01
  • Contact: Nan Wang


Aims: With continually increasing urbanization, urban birds are becoming more reliant on the habitat provided by garden plants. At the same time, the proportion of alien plants in urban gardens have gradually increased, becoming an important part of urban bird habitats. Garden plants are the primary roosting site for urban birds, and their reasonable configuration can provide a suitable night roosting environment for birds and maintain urban bird diversity. Studying the use of night roosting plants by urban birds can provide a reference to conservationists for the construction of urban gardens.

Methods: From 2021 to 2022, infrared thermography was used to observe night-roosting bird behavior in Beijing. The species, diameter at breast height, tree height, canopy of night roosting plants, and perch height of birds were measured and recorded.

Results & Conclusions: A total of 1,865 recordings consisting of 23 species of birds in 12 families and 45 species of roosting plants in 22 families were documented. The number of native plants and alien plants in the study area accounted for 45.08% and 54.92%, respectively. The number of birds that roost in alien plants at night was about four times that of native plants. The plant with the largest number of night-roosting birds was Juniperus chinensis, followed by Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Phyllostachys propinqua, Platanus occidentalis, and Salix matsudana. The highest rarity-weighted richness of night-roosting birds was Juniperus chinensis, followed by Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Phyllostachys propinqua, Pinus tabuliformis, and Ulmus pumila. The diameter at breast height, tree height, canopy and perch height of night-roosting birds of native plants were significantly higher than those of alien plants. Birds utilized a significantly higher percentage of alien plants whilst roosting in winter (95.44%) than in other seasons (75.37%). Our findings suggest that alien plants enriched the night roosting environment of birds in Beijing urban gardens.

Key words: alien plants, urban birds, night roosting plants, seasonal variation, Beijing