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Research

Research interests | Raptor biology, ecology and conservation | Avian collision ecology | Semi-popular publications | Scientific publications

Raptor biology, ecology and conservation

Research within this theme includes landscape-scale surveys of communities or populations of threatened species, long-term demographic monitoring of iconic or indicator species, active management of red-listed species in situations of conflict with development, and studies of space and habitat use using remote sensing techniques.

Population ecology of Cape Peninsula Peregrines

Andrew Jenkins studied Peregrine Falcons in the Greater Cape Town area from the late 1980s until 2020, initially as a Phd student at the FitzPatrick Instutute, UCT, and latterly as a Research Associate of the Institute. The study focused on individually colour-marking as many of the adult birds in the population as possible, as well as the majority of young produced each year, and monitoring survival, dispersal, and breeding success of these marked birds in relation to a variety of potential biotic and abiotic drivers. The study accumulated over two decades of detailed demographic data, and documented a more than five-fold increase in the size of the population over that time, including a major expansion of breeding birds into the deep urban areas of the city. Andrew is currently collaborating with Assoc. Prof. Res Altwegg of the Dept of Statistical Sciences at UCT, in analysing and publishing aspects of this study.

Population ecology of Cape Peninsula Peregrines. Copyright: A Jenkins, AVISENSE Africa

Conservation biology of the Taita Falcon

The SA Taita Falcon Survey Team operates under the auspices of BirdLife South Africa, and is recognised as the global Species Guardian for the Taita Falcon by BirdLife Internationalís Preventing Extinctions Programme. The Team conducts annual Taita Falcon surveys and nest monitoring in the Mpumalanga/Limpopo escarpment area, and is trying to generate similar levels of interest in this hyper-rare and globally threatened species in other parts of its African range. The latter work has included surveys of the Batoka Gorge below Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, and most recently the Niassa Special Reserve, northern Mozambique. Andrew Jenkins and Anthony van Zyl are both founding members of the Team.

Find out more about the Taita Falcon project.

Conservation biology of the Taita Falcon. Copyright: A Jenkins, AVISENSE Africa

Population ecology of Rock Kestrels on the Cape Peninsula

Anthony van Zyl studied the Rock Kestrel population on the Cape Peninsula, starting in 1993-94 and then again from 1999-2010. This study formed part of the cliff-nesting raptor monitoring project on the Cape Peninsula with Andrew Jenkins and Lucia Rodriques. The study included finding as many Rock Kestrel territories as possible, individually marking some adults and ringing chicks at accessible nest sites, monitoring breeding success of the study period, and documenting breeding success in different territories across the peninsula. The project also assisted SANParks to determine which nest sites were vulnerable to disturbance specifically by climbers in the national park.

Population ecology of Rock Kestrels on the Cape Peninsula. Copyright: A van Zyl, AVISENSE Africa

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