Chris Hewson

Chris Hewson


Senior Research Ecologist - International Research 


I am a senior research ecologist in International Research Team where I work on the ecology and conservation of Afro-Palaearctic migratory birds and of forest birds across the world. Projects primarily focus of population changes, habitats and migration strategies of these species.


BSc (Hons) Geography, Nottingham University, 1989 – 1992
MSc Advanced Ecology, University of Durham, 1993 – 1994
PhD ‘Interactions between resident tits and migratory warblers in an English broadleaved woodland’, Dept. of Zoology, University of Cambridge, 1996 - 2000

Research Interests/Responsibilities 

I am involved in all aspects of research projects on the status, ecology and conservation of Afro-Palaearctic migratory birds and forest birds across the world. Current and recent projects include tracking the migrations of Common Cuckoos through satellite-based radio telemetry, using geolocators to reconstruct the migrations of individual Common Swifts, Nightingales, and Pied Flycatchers, large-scale field surveys of migratory birds across a broad latitudinal transect from the Sahel to the moist tropical forest in West Africa, detailed studies of the winter ecology on migrants in tropical Africa and assessment of the biodiversity value of forests in western Siberia. Previously I have been involved in large-scale studies monitoring the population trends and habitat use of woodland birds in Britain, as well as smaller studies examining a range of processes thought to affect birds in woodlands, such as nest predation by Grey Squirrels and grazing by deer.

Selected Publications 

Holt, C.A., Hewson, C.M. & Fuller, R.J. 2012. The Nightingale in Britain: status, ecology & conservation. British Birds 105: 172-187.

Lisovski, S., Hewson, C.M., Klaassen, R.H.G., Korner-Nievergelt, F., Kristensen, M.W. & Hahn, S. 2012. Geolocation by light: accuracy and precision affected by environmental factors. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 3: 603-12.

Ockendon, N., Hewson, C.M., Johnston, A., & Atkinson, P.W. 2012. Declines in British-breeding populations of Afro-Palaearctic migrant birds are linked to bioclimatic wintering zone in Africa, possibly via constraints on arrival time advancement. Bird Study 59: 111-125.

Hewson, C.M., Austin, G.E., Gough, S.J. & Fuller, R.J. 2011. Species-specific responses of woodland birds to stand-level habitat characteristics: The dual importance of forest structure and floristics. Forest Ecology & Management 261:1224–1240.

Sage, R.B., Hoodless, A.N., Hewson, C.M., Wilson, S., Le Clare, C., Marchant, J.H., Draycott, R.A.H. & Fuller, R.J. 2011. Assessing breeding success in common woodland birds using a novel method. Bird Study 58:409-420.

Amar, A., Smith, K.W., Butler, S. , Lindsell, J.A., Hewson, C. M., Fuller, R. J. & Charman, E. C. 2010. Recent patterns of change in vegetation structure and tree composition of British broadleaved woodland: evidence from large-scale surveys. Forestry doi:10.1093/forestry/cpq017

Newson, S., Leech, D., Hewson, C.M., Crick, H. & Grice, P. 2010. Potential impacts of Grey squirrels Sciurus carolinensis on woodland bird populations in England. Journal of Ornithology 151: 211-218.

Hewson, C.M.& Noble, D.G. 2009. Population trends of breeding birds in British woodland over a 32-year period: relationships with food, habitat use and migratory behaviour. Ibis 151: 464-486.

Hewson, C.M., Amar, A., Lindsell, J.A., Thewlis, R.M., Butler, S., Smith, K. & Fuller, R.J. 2007. Recent changes in British woodland bird populations derived from the Repeat Woodland Bird Survey. Ibis 149 (suppl s2):14-28.

Amar, A., Hewson, C.M., Smith, K.W., Fuller, R.J., Lindsell, J.A., Conway, G., Butler, S. & MacDonald, M.A. 2006. What’s happening to our woodland birds? Long-term changes in the populations of woodland birds. BTO Research Report No. 169. RSPB Research Report No. 19.

Hewson, C.M. & Fuller, R.J. 2006. Little evidence of change in edge use by woodland birds in England. Bird Study 53: 323 - 327.

Hewson, C.M., Fuller, R.J. & Day, C. 2005. An investigation of habitat occupancy by the nightingale Luscinia megaryhnchos in relation to population change at the edge of its range in England. Journal of Ornithology 146: 244-248.

Hewson, C.M., Fuller, R.J., Mayle, B. & Smith, K.W. 2004. Possible impacts of Grey Squirrel on birds and other wildlife. British Wildlife 15: 183-191.

Contact details

Email: chris.hewson [at]
Telephone: 01842 750050
Fax: 01842 750030
Postal address: British Trust for Ornithology, The Nunnery, Thetford, IP24 2PU, UK.