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Current News


2020/2021 Gough Island Restoration team arrive on the island
Mon, 28 Sep 2020 - 09:30

Kim Stevens, Vonica Perold and Roelf Daling have arrived on Gough Island to relieve Alexis Osborne, Chris Jones and Michelle Risi after their epic 2-year stint on the island.

Award for Fitz Honorary Research Associate, Prof. Wendy Foden
Wed, 02 Sep 2020 - 09:00

The British Ecological Society’s (BES) Marsh Award for Climate Change Research has been awarded to the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Professor Wendy Foden, a world-leading researcher in climate change vulnerability assessments of threatened species

New papers from the Hot Birds Project
Mon, 03 Aug 2020 - 09:45

Two papers have recently been published on research done on Southern Pied Babblers by the Hot Birds Project team.

Managing geese on golf courses
Mon, 03 Aug 2020 - 09:15

Rob Little published a collation and follow-up of research this week in the journal African Journal of Wildlife Research which shows that the reluctance of golf course managers to adopt effective solutions to control the nuisance impact of Egyptian Geese is not a failure of science but rather a failure of the process of effectively mitigating a wildlife management conflict. This can thus be regarded as a case where interactions between humans and wildlife lead to conflict between different stakeholders over appropriate management interventions with a lack of consensus resulting in effective relevant research outcomes being ignored.

The importance of Proteaceae diversity to nectar-feeding birds
Thu, 30 Jul 2020 - 10:00

Nectar-feeding birds and the plants that they feed from benefit each other and they are expected to be highly dependent on each other. Anthropogenic effects on one of these parties will thus likely affect the other party, or even whole communities. A study ( investigated the relationship between nectar-feeding birds in the Cape Floristic Region (CFR) and one of their most wide-spread and common food sources: bird-pollinated Proteaceae species. At least 71 species from the genera Protea, Leucospermum and Mimetes depend, to varying degrees, on the Cape Sugarbird and three other sunbird species.

Researchers build first AI tool capable of identifying individual birds
Tue, 28 Jul 2020 - 12:45

New research demonstrates for the first time that artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to train computers to recognise individual birds, a task humans are unable to do. The research is published in the British Ecological Society journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution.

Volunteer: Field assistant, Hot Birds Project
Fri, 10 Jul 2020 - 10:00

PhD student Nick Pattinson is looking for a field volunteer to assist him with data collection for his research on the Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill in the Kuruman River Reserve near Van Zylsrus, Northern Cape.

Supplementary feeding sites make considerable contributions to vulture food requirements but likely also expose vultures to risks
Fri, 03 Jul 2020 - 12:00

A new study led by researchers at the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town, investigates the use of vulture supplementary feeding sites (SFS), also known as vulture restaurants, as a conservation tool in South Africa. Two papers from this study have been published this year.

Kalahari skinks eavesdrop on sociable weavers to manage predation by pygmy falcons
Thu, 18 Jun 2020 - 09:45

A new study led by researchers at the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology that investigated whether Kalahari tree skinks are able to eavesdrop and cue on sociable weavers to avoid predation, was recently published in the journal Behavioral Ecology.

World Albatross Day, 19 June 2020
Mon, 15 Jun 2020 - 10:30

On 19 June the first ever World Albatross Day will be celebrated online around the globe. The day honours these magnificent birds and highlights the ongoing conservation crisis they face.

Bearded Vulture reintroduction in South Africa
Thu, 11 Jun 2020 - 10:45

A new study, led by scientists at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and published in the journal Ostrich, explores where best to establish a new population of bearded vulture. The study identifies five potential locations within the species’ historic South African range – in both the Eastern and Western Cape – and explores the potential benefits and threats present at each site. The study also found that any reintroduction would be far more likely to succeed if a captive breeding population is established first.

Wealth, Water and Wildlife
Thu, 11 Jun 2020 - 09:45

Wealth, Water and Wildlife – new study finds more biodiversity in richer neighbourhoods, especially in dry regions.

A unique global study has found that wealthier neighbourhoods in cities have more biodiversity in comparison to poorer ones - a pattern that scientists have called the ‘Luxury Effect’. However, this study found that this ‘Effect’ is far greater in the more arid regions of the world.