Are non-indigenous species aliens?

Wild birds have a natural range or geographic distribution that is strictly defined. Sometimes humans, intentionally or accidentally introduce captive birds into a new and unfamiliar territory. These non-indigenous species are variously called exotics or aliens. Climatic factors, competition or predation usually defeat these introduced species. But some may thrive, often at the expense of native species or with the cost of creating artificial bird communities. These alien species also can spread diseases to native wild birds. In Kuwait recently the number of introduced species, including many pet birds, has been climbing – some have become naturalized since they have found conditions similar to their natural subtropical or tropical homes. Sadly this artificial enriching is not good for the natural composition of birds in our region and most people don’t understand the potential damage being done when a pet bird escapes.

Typical alien species in Kuwait are: Common Myna, Indian Silverbill, Red-vented Bulbul, and House Crow while species such as White-eared Bulbul, Laughing Dove and Rose-ringed Parakeet although found in nearby countries as native birds, have also been introduced recently to Kuwait. The Bulbul and Laughing Dove are now two of the commonest birds in settlements, farms and cities in Kuwait. Modern Cities with their irrigated landscaping and urban greenery are obviously new environments in the Northern Gulf region so these subtropical birds have adapted very well and are now an integral part of urban wildlife. However we must not forget that these birds are new-commers transported through the hand-of-man; and, although they maintain self-sustained populations independent of human support they are definately "alien" to the local natural ecosystems.