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Masters Students

Taylyn Risi

Taylyn Risi
BSc Hons (UCT)
 

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Taylyn had her first (and captivating) encounters with birds while living nestled in the coastal forest of the Tsitsikamma National Park on the Bloukrans River border between the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape as a young child⁠—a resident family of twelve Knysna turacos and a friendly drongo. Later, in East Sussex, England, an ornithologist visited her Grade-R class and inspired Taylyn to study birds. Returning to South Africa, she grew up sharing her family’s interest in wildlife and participating in conservation projects in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal. These fuelled her passion for restoring ecosystems and creating a sustainable future for the planet.

After completing her bachelor’s degree in Life Sciences: Botany and Zoology (with Geography) through the University of South Africa in 2018, Taylyn enrolled at UCT for her honours degree in Biological Sciences in 2019. Her honours project explored the impact of urbanisation on Red-winged Starlings’ ability to maintain stable body mass. Broadly, Taylyn’s research interests include the conservation of migratory and coastal birds, and the impact humans have on the behavioural ecology of birds.

For her MSc dissertation, Taylyn is making use of the Underhill-Zucchini moult model to review as many species of oystercatcher as possible. Her work involves applying the model to the moult strategies of oystercatchers (Haematopidae) from different parts of the world.

Thesis: Moult strategies of oystercatchers (Haematopidae). Supervisors: Prof. Les Underhill and Prof. Peter Ryan of UCT, and Dr. David Melville (formerly WWF Hong Kong, retired to New Zealand).