Rob Robinson

Associate Director, Research

Rob is one of the senior scientists of the British Trust for Ornithology and provides strategic leadership and co-ordination of research across BTO as a whole. This includes improving the support our scientists have to undertake analyses effectively and ensuring best use is made of the valuable data collected by volunteers both for academic research and to inform policy. 

Interests & Responsibilities

Changes in bird populations and distributions are determined by demography, particularly the combination of survival and productivity. Rob's main interest lies in understanding how these processes operate, within an applied context, how the sum of individuals creates them and how they vary at different scales. Much of his recent work at BTO has focussed on combining data from the Ringing and Nest Record Schemes with data on population changes to understand the reasons for population declines. and census schemes to understand the reasons for population declines. This work involves applying novel statistical methods to make better use of  national data and contributes to BirdTrends, the annual assessment of Britain's bird populations. Rob started research with a particular focus on farmland birds, how they use their food supply and how changes in agriculture have, and will, afect them; effects of demographic parameters vary spatially, both geographically and with environmental variables such as habitat; Rob also has an interest in the role that diseases play in bird populations.

Other Information

Chair, European Union of Ringing Schemes (EURING)
Associate Editor, Ibis
Honorary Reader, University of East Anglia
Visiting Researcher, Swiss Ornithological Institute
Scientific Chair of BOU 2014 Conference and Co-Chair Euring 2017 Analytical Meeting
Member Nominated Trustee, BTO Assured Pension Scheme


BSc (Hons) Zoology, Edinburgh University, 1989-1993. PhD Ecology and conservation of farmland birds, University of East Anglia, 1993-1997.

Recent BTO Publications

Green, R.E., Taggart, M.A., Pain, D.J., Clark, N.A., Clewley, L., Cromie, R., Green, R.M.W., Guiu, M., Huntley, B., Huntley, J., Leslie, R., Porter, R., Roberts, J., Robinson, J.A., Robinson, R.A., Sheldon, R., Smith, K.W., Smith, L., Spencer, J. & Stroud, D. 2023. Limited effectiveness of actions intended to achieve a voluntary transition from the use of lead to non-lead shotgun ammunition for hunting in Britain. Conservation Evidence Journal 20 : 1-7 View at journal website (DOI: 10.52201/CEJ20/OQWU5273) 8pp
Massimino, D., Woodward, I.D., Barber, L., Barimore, C., Harris, S.J., Leech, D.I., Noble, D.G., Walker, R.H., Baillie, S.R. & Robinson, R.A. 2023. BirdTrends 2022: Trends in numbers, breeding success and survival for UK breeding birds. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford, Norfolk Link to publication
Gargallo, G., Davies, J.G., Faverjon, C., Kampichler, C., Baillie, S.R., Cameron, A., Robinson, R.A. & Sierdsema H. 2022. Development of a prototype early warning system for avian influenza in the EU based on risk-mapping. EFSA Supporting Publications 19 (part 12) European Food Safety Agency View at journal website (DOI: 10.2903/sp.efsa.2022.EN-7762)
Barnes, A.E., Davies, J.G., Martay, B., Boersch-Supan, P. H., Harris, S.J., Noble, D.G., Pearce-Higgins, J.W. & Robinson, R.A. 2022. Rare and declining bird species benefit most from designating protected areas for conservation in the UK. Nature Ecology & Evolution View at journal website (DOI: 10.1038/s41559-022-01927-4)
Fandos, G., Talluto, M., Fielder, W., Robinson, R.A., Thorup, K. & Zurell, D. 2022. Standardised empirical dispersal kernels emphasise the pervasiveness of long-distance dispersal in European birds. Journal of Animal Ecology View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.13838 )
Finch, T., Bell, J.R., Robinson, R.A. & Peach, W.J. 2022. Demography of Common Swifts Apus apus breeding in the UK associated with local weather but not aphid abundance. Ibis View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/ibi.13156)

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