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

Mancini, F., Boersch-Supan, P.H., Robinson, R.A., Harris, M. & Pocock, M.J.O. 2022. An introduction to model-based data integration for biodiversity assessments. Link to publication ISBN: 978-1-86107-639-7 30pp
Morrison, C.A., Butler, S.J., Clark, J.A., Arizaga, J., Baltà, O., Cepák, J., Nebot, A.L., Piha, M., Thorup, K., Wenninger, T. & Robinson, R.A. 2022. Demographic variation in space and time: implications for conservation targeting. Royal Society Open Science 9 (part 3) View at journal website (DOI: 10.1098/rsos.211671)
Cook, A.S.C.P., Burton, N.H.K., Dodd, S.G., Foster, S., Pell, R.J., Ward, R.M., Wright, L.J. & , Robinson, R.A. 2021. Temperature and density influence survival in a rapidly declining migratory shorebird. Biological Conservation View at journal website (DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2021.109198)
Clewley, G.D., Franks, S.E., Clark, N.A. & Robinson, R.A. 2021. Pilot study to investigate Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) feeding behaviour to enhance bird food modelling and shellfisheries management on The Wash. Research Report no. 735. BTO Research Report 735 30pp
Hanmer, H.J. & Robinson, R.A. 2021. Incidence of road mortality in ringed raptors and owls: a spatial analysis. Research Report no. 733. BTO Research Report 733 ISBN: 978-1-912642-24-3 40pp

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