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Department of Zoology



I joined the staff of BirdLife International in August 2016 after 20 years with the RSPB (Principal Conservation Scientist, International Research Team), where I worked largely on international issues.

My research interests include the effectiveness of international conservation agreements and site protection networks, the use of remote sensing in conservation, the conservation ecology of critically endangered species and the impacts of land use change on birds. In my role at BirdLife, I work on projects around the global trade in birds, the impacts of future agricultural spread and avian taxonomy.

I work closely with partners in a large number of countries across Africa and Asia and supervise a number of PhD and Masters students.

I am an experienced researcher and have published over 150 scientific papers and a number of books. I use of range of data analysis tools to convert raw data into information that can be applied directly to real conservation problems.

As a former Editor-in-Chief of the journal Ibis, and current editor of the journal Sandgrouse, I have an in-depth knowledge of scientific publishing.

External activities:

  • 2019: Editor, Sandgrouse
  • 2010: ZSL/Marsh Award for Conservation Science
  • 2009: Editor-in-Chief, Ibis
  • 2008: Associate Editor, Bird Conservation International
  • 2007: Council, British Ornithologists' Union


Key publications: 
  • Donald, P.F., Gedeon, K., Collar, N.J., Spottiswoode, C.N., Wondafrash,m M. & Buchanan, G.M. 2012. The restricted range of the Ethiopian bush-crow Zavattariornis stresemanni is a consequence of high reliance on modified habitats within narrow climatic limits. Journal of Ornithology 153: 1031–1044. 
  • Buchanan, G.M., Donald, P.F. & Butchart, S.H.M. 2011. Identifying priority areas for conservation: A global assessment for forest-dependent birds. PLoS ONE 6(12): e29080. 
  • Donald, P.F. 2007. Adult sex ratios in wild bird populations. Ibis 149: 671–692.


Honorary Research Fellow

Contact Details

Birdlife Office, David Attenborough Building