BI2EY5-Birds: Diversity, Behaviour and Conservation

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Mark Fellowes


Summary module description:
Birds are among the most charismatic and familiar of the animal groups. This module will provide an introduction to the study of avian biology from understanding their diversity to investigating their physiological adaptions, through to their conservation. Practical classes will be used to teach vital research skills as well as the physiological and behavioural adaptions of birds.

This module aims to provide an introduction to the study of avian biology, particularly in helping to develop an integrated understanding of their evolutionary history, diversity, adaptations, social behaviour, reproduction and conservation.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the course, it is expected that students will be able to:

Describe and explain the origins and diversity of birds.
Describe and explain the physiological adaptions that have enabled birds to inhabit most of the globe.
Describe and explain the behavioural ecology of birds.
Describe and explain the primary threats to bird populations.

Additional outcomes:
Students will have the opportunity to:

- Gain experience of teamwork and leadership
- Practice their communication skills
- Develop their scientific writing skills

Outline content:
Lectures will introduce the broad diversity of bird life, before considering in detail the structure and function of key adaptive features, such as those associated with flight. Moving from physiology to ecology, we consider the diversity of reproductive, territorial and dispersal behaviour of birds, including a deeper consideration of the role of migration in bird ecology. We also consider the conservation status of birds, and how active conservation techniques can be used in situ.

Practical classes cover a wide range of workshops to teach valuable research skills including researching a topic, developing a research question, understanding how research is funded and carried out. Other practical classes will focus on the physiological and behavioural adaptions of birds.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
We will learn about bird ecology, behaviour and conservation using a mix of formal lectures and practical classes. There will be a mix of individual and group-based learning approaches used.

Recommended books:
Gill, F.B. 2007 Ornithology 3rd edition. Freeman: New York.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Practicals classes and workshops 20
Guided independent study 60
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Set exercise 30

Other information on summative assessment:
Field and laboratory group work.

The break down of assessment will be:
Exam :70%
Set exercise - 15%
Set exercise - 10%
Set exercise - 5%

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    One-and-a-half-hour paper

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-sit examination in August/September

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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