Non-indigenous terrestrial vertebrates in Israel and adjacent areas Academic Article uri icon


  • We investigated characteristics of established non-indigenous (ENI) terrestrial vertebrates in Israel and adjacent areas, as well as attributes of areas they occupy. Eighteen non-indigenous birds have established populations in this region since 1850. A database of their attributes was compiled, analyzed, and compared to works from elsewhere. Most ENI bird species are established locally; a few are spreading or widespread. There has been a recent large increase in establishment. All ENI birds are of tropical origin, mostly from the Ethiopian and Oriental regions; the main families are Sturnidae, Psittacidae, Anatidae, and Columbidae. Most species have been deliberately brought to Israel in captivity and subsequently released or escaped. Most of these birds are commensal with humans to some degree, are not typically migratory, and have mean body mass larger than that of the entire order. ENI birds are not distributed randomly. There are centers in the Tel-Aviv area and along the Rift Valley, which is also a corridor of spread. Positive correlations were found between ENI bird richness and mean annual temperature and urbanization. Mediterranean forests and desert regions have fewer ENI species than expected. Apart from birds we report on non-indigenous species of reptiles (2) and mammals (2) in this region.

publication date

  • January 1, 2008