Prof Will Cresswell

Prof Will Cresswell


Researcher profile

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Research areas

I have two major research interests: behavioural ecology of birds and conservation ecology of birds.

Behavioural Ecology

My interests in behavioural ecology centre mainly around understanding how animals manage their risk of predation and how predators then compensate to maximise their chance of catching prey. I concentrate on studying how small birds such as blackbirds or redshanks avoid depredation by raptors such as sparrowhawks or peregrines. I am also interested in foraging behaviour and the conflict between the need to forage and scan for predators, transfer of foraging and predator information between individuals, nest predation, incubation and foraging energetics, interference competition, individual foraging specialisations and variation in competitive ability and pursuit-deterrent signalling. A particular current interest is how the non-lethal effects of predation lead to fitness, population dynamics and community structure.

Conservation Ecology

My interests in conservation ecology centre mainly on the factors determining the density and distribution of endemic, declining and migrant birds. I am particulary interested in explaining why European migrant birds are declining and how their use of African habitats affects their population dynamics. Much of this is based in West Africa and associated with the AP Leventis Ornithological Research Institute in Jos, Nigeria (APLORI ) . I collect baseline survey and habitat association data necessary to formulate conservation strategies for endangered and declining birds. I also am interested in the effects of forest fragmentation on African birds, survival rates of tropical birds, differences in the foraging/predation trade-off between tropical and temperate birds and the use of degraded and farmland habitats by African birds and Palearctic migrant species.

Selected publications


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