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Niven Librarian

The Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, part of the Biological Sciences Department, seeks to appoint a full-time Librarian for the Niven Library as soon as possible. The Niven Library is the premier ornithological library in the Southern Hemisphere that houses collections owned jointly by BirdLife South Africa and the Percy FitzPatrick Institute. We are seeking an enthusiastic, self-motivated, independent librarian to curate and help to grow the library collection, and carry it forward into the digital era.


  • A university degree and a post-graduate diploma in library and information science (PGDipLis) or BBibl (Hons) or equivalent qualification

  • At least two years’ experience in an academic or research library

  • Experience with AMLIB Integrated Library System or equivalent system (such as OCLC)

  • Experience with capturing and recording data

  • Ability to work independently

The following would be advantageous:

  • Competent in at least one African language other than English

  • An interest in ornithology

  • Experience in data archiving and database management

  • Experience in fund-raising and strategic planning

Key Responsibilities include:

  • Collection development

  • Database and electronic resource management

  • Reference enquiries and distribution of reprints

  • Management of periodical subscriptions and journal exchanges

  • Cataloguing and other routine tasks

Click here for the job advertisement and here for the full job description.

Please report any sightings of ringed Swift Terns

Swift Terns are one of the few locally-breeding seabirds whose numbers are increasing., To help understand the main factors driving the positive trend of this species, a team of researchers from the Percy FitzPatrick Institute and the Animal Demography Unit at the University of Cape Town marked 500 Swift Tern chicks from Robben Island in April 2013 and 2014 with metal and individually engraved colour rings. In 2013, members of the public reported how these birds dispersed, providing information on the fledging success, survival and dispersal of juvenile Swift Terns, which were re-sighted from Namibia to the Eastern Cape. Gathering dispersal records is a time consuming but important task that relies on assistance from volunteers across southern Africa.

Rings in 2014 are orange and yellow (with black text) and green and blue (with white text), and are engraved with an “A” followed by a letter and a number (e.g. AU2). Rings from 2013 are yellow and white (with black text) and green and blue (with white text), and bear a code of one letter and one number (e.g. U2).  The majority of the colour rings are top-down and all are on the right leg.

If you see any ringed birds please record their location as accurately as possible (ideally GPS), the date and time of sighting, ring colour, letters on the ring (if legible) and age class (juvenile or immature). If a bird is found dead, please also record the number of the metal ring. Send the information to Davide Gaglio at

Thanks for your help!

Last modified: 2015/03/17
Copyright: Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology 2014
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