Despite the many studies that have investigated successful establishment of introduced bird species, very little is known about the patterns of success worldwide and the influence of life history and ecological traits. This study describes the analysis of non-native land bird introductions to test existing hypotheses of establishment success using a modern comparative approach to control for phylogenetic relatedness among taxa. I used randomization tests, permutational phylogenetic regressions, and across-taxa and sister-taxa comparisons to examine predicted correlates of introduction success. My analyses confirmed that the variability in establishment success among introduced land bird families is distributed in a manner significantly different from a random process, and that life history and ecological attributes are an important influence of introduction success. I found strong evidence, through a generalized linear model, that increased habitat generalism, lack of migratory tendency, and sexual monochromatism together explain significant variation in the successful establishment of introduced land bird species. This has resulted in a predictive equation for the novel introduction of land bird species. © 2002 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2002, 76, 465–480.