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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.

Talk: The costs of keeping cool: climate change and the future for desert birds.    
Tue, 11 Feb 2020 - 13:15

The ROYAL SOCIETY of SOUTH AFRICA and THE ACADEMY OF SCIENCE OF SOUTH AFRICA invite you to a free public lecture by Dr Susan Cunningham of the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town entitled The costs of keeping cool: climate change and the future for desert birds.    

New research into flightlessness in the Aldabra rail indicates it could be a distinct species
Fri, 17 Jan 2020 - 12:15

A new research paper published on Aldabra’s endemic white-throated rail Dryolimnas [cuvierialdabranus has shown two new facts about this unique bird: it evolved among the most rapid documented loss of flight known in birds so far; and it should be considered an evolutionary distinct species from Dryolimnas cuvieri, not a subspecies as previously thought.

Non-invasive physiological measurements in wild animals
Wed, 27 Nov 2019 - 10:45

Just like us, when animals experience stress, they show a physiological response in the body. This response can take many forms – an elevated heart rate, higher metabolic rate, an increase in circulating stress hormones (called cortisol in most mammals, including humans, and corticosterone in reptiles and birds) or, when heat stressed, a heightened risk of dehydration.

Field researcher needed
Tue, 12 Nov 2019 - 11:15

We are looking for a research assistant to join our team in our research on the building behaviour of White-browed sparrow weavers in the Kalahari Desert, South Africa.

Unravelling francolin taxonomy
Tue, 05 Nov 2019 - 11:30

A Fitz team recently published a paper in the African Journal of Ornithology Ostrich titled ‘Taxonomy, phylogeny and biogeography of ‘true’ francolins: Galliformes, Phasianidae, Phasianinae, Gallini; Francolinus, Ortygornis, Afrocolinus gen. nov., Peliperdix and Scleroptila spp.’ elevating 14 subspecies of francolins to full species status.


International recognition for Prof Wendy Foden
Thu, 24 Oct 2019 - 12:15

International recognition for FitzPatrick Institute Honorary Research Associate, Prof Wendy Foden. - Prof. Foden received the George Rabb Award for Conservation Innovation from the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Fieldwork opportunity with The Red-Winged Starling Project
Tue, 08 Oct 2019 - 12:15

The Red-winged Starling Project is seeking volunteers to help with a supplementary feeding project and chick ringing. This is an excellent opportunity to gain fieldwork experience in the city (UCT Upper Campus) and engage with our (in)famous and fascinating starlings! The work is easy and fun, and you can do as much or little of it as suits you, and at times that fit your schedule. There is a set protocol for the feeding, but training is provided.