The Cape Bird Club

Western Cape Raptor Research Programme Rob Simmons

Rob is a British-born ecologist, conservation biologist and ornithologist specialising in population ecology, behavioural ecology and life history theory. He has enjoyed a varied research background in the UK, Canada, Sweden and Africa with interests in evolution of mating systems, sibling aggression, reproductive constraints, latitudinal effects on breeding output and conservation of endemic and wetland birds in Namibia. His academic research interests have focused on the ecology and evolution of raptorial birds culminating in a recently published book in the Oxford Ornithology Series: Harriers of the World: their behaviour and ecology. He is continuing that work with a new study of the endemic Black Harrier in the southwestern Cape in collaboration with Fitzpatrick staff and students. His conservation interests are very diverse and have covered the full gamut from albatrosses to cranes and terns to woodhoopoes. His main interests are endemic Namibian species and long term studies of Namibian wetlands and, more recently, its rivers. Rob is currently writing Namibia's first Red data book on birds.

The Black Harrier project in the Overberg and the Swartland.

The Black Harrier team, which besides Rob Simmons, consists of Andrew Jenkins and Odette Curtiss who are monitoring about 80 nests.
The Black Harriers in the Swartland are not faring very well this season - 2004. It is thought that the drought is having a deleterious effect on the nesting. In the Overberg, they are faring much better. Some chicks have fledged, but with their season in full swing, it is hard to say how many.
Black Harriers and some chicks are also ringed. Being ground nesting raptors the chicks are more easily accessed.


photograph by Andrew Jenkins

A Black Harrier hen with her chick.

 

Rob Simmons  tel (021) 650 3310  or  fax (021) 650 3295   harrier@botzoo.uct.ac.za 

                                                                                                                          

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