ZOOL40500 Ornithology

Academic Year 2023/2024

Birds are a hugely diverse class of animals. They have evolved a host of remarkable features allowing them to flourish since they took flight during the Jurassic Period 150 million years ago. They inhabit some of the harshest parts of the world, from remote ocean islands to densely-populated cities. And many species can undertake trans-continental migrations in search of better conditions. In this module you will learn about various aspects of bird biology such as their diversity and distribution; how they fly; how they feed; and their conservation status. Alongside the lectures we will explore modern methods used to study the biology of birds in a series of computer labs. The overall aim of this module is to give you a comprehensive view of ornithology.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the module you will be able to:
- describe the key features of bird biology
- recognise the threats to bird conservation
- analyse data from the peer-reviewed literature on ornithology

Indicative Module Content:

Origins, eggs, flight, migration, foraging, communication, speciation, conservation

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning




Computer Aided Lab




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
- Face to face lectures
- There will be some problem-based learning tasks in computer practicals where you will be given an ornithological data set that you will explore using R/ NetLogo. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

Familiarity with Microsoft Excel and the computer language R

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Continuous Assessment: Computer-based practical problems Unspecified n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Multiple Choice Questionnaire: MCQs based on lecture content. Unspecified n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Irby J. Lovette & John W. Fitzpatrick (2016) Handbook of Bird Biology (Cornell Lab of Ornithology) 3rd Edition