Centre of Excellence

Prof Andrew McKechnie

CoE Project Leader (External)

Professor Andrew McKechnie
PhD (Natal)

Department of Zoology and Entomology
University of Pretoria

Tel: +27-(0)12-4203232
Fax: +27-(0)12-3625242


Activities and research interests

Homepage @ University of Pretoria

Andrew McKechnie obtained his PhD from the University of Natal in 2002. After spending two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of New Mexico, he was appointed as a Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand, before moving to the University of Pretoria in 2008 to take up an appointment as an Associate Professor.

Andrew’s research interests span several aspects of the ecological and evolutionary physiology of birds and other vertebrates. He is particularly interested in avian physiological diversity, and the contributions of various sources of phenotypic variation to inter- and intraspecific variation in traits such as metabolic rate. Another key focus area in his research group is facultative hypothermic responses such as torpor, and how birds, bats and other animals use these responses to avoid mismatches between energy supply and demand. He is also working on predicting the effects of climate change for animals living in very hot environments, and using models of evaporative water requirements to quantify the impacts of increasing maximum temperatures and more frequent heat waves. Other research by his group involves the use of stable isotopes to examine landscape-scale nutrient fluxes, and to infer migratory connections in species such as the critically endangered Blue Swallow.

Andrew is currently an Associate Editor for the journals Emu – Austral Ornithology and Ostrich – Journal of African Ornithology.

Current Students at the FitzPatrick Institute

Tanja van de Ven: Implications of climate change for the reproductive behaviour and performance of the desert-dwelling Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill (Tockus leucomelas) (Supervisors: Phil Hockey, Susie Cunningham & Andrew McKechnie).

Research Programmes

Ecological & Evolutionary Physiology
Rarity & Conservation of African Birds