Head & Principal Ecologist
Niall manages a team of seven staff undertaking pure and applied research on the UK’s waterbirds and seabirds.
Interests & Responsibilities
As Head of the Wetland and Marine Team, Niall oversees BTO’s research into waterbirds and seabirds, working closely with Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) staff in the BTO's Monitoring Team. The team's research explores the wide range of factors that may affect waterbird and seabird population dynamics, including climate change, habitat change and loss and the impacts of coastal and offshore developments. Niall's personal research work has focussed on assessing how waterbirds (from individuals to groups) respond to disturbance, habitat change and habitat loss.
Niall is currently chair of the British Ornithologist's Union (BOU) Meetings Committee and has been a member of the BOU's Council since 2011. He is also an Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia.
QualificationsBSc in Physical Geography, Reading University, 1986-1989 MSc in Ecology, University of Durham, 1989-1990 PhD on the roosting behaviour of waders, University of Durham, 1991-1995
Recent BTO Publications
Content Related to Niall Burton
Curlew collaboration to boost breeding success
Research from BTO and the University of East Anglia reveals how land management can support the breeding success of this declining species.
Curlew are highly faithful to a small winter range, a finding which will inform conservation management for this Red-listed species.
In a collaborative study led by the University of Hull, BTO scientists aimed to find out more by establishing the overwinter home range size (the size of the space used by the birds during winter) of Curlew in the Hum