Gavin Siriwardena

Head & Principal Ecologist

Gavin leads the BTO’s Land-Use Research team, which currently comprises up to 15 analytical and field research staff, conducting and supervising pure and applied research on terrestrial bird ecology.

Interests & Responsibilities

Terrestrial bird ecology at a range of spatial scales, from territories to landscapes, via field experiments and analyses of large-scale, long-term datasets. Research at the BTO has considered migration ecology, cause of decline in woodland birds and methods of population trend analysis, but has focused primarily on farmland birds, contributing directly to government policy on the environment. A major three-year project on the demography of farmland birds (1996-1999), involving detailed analyses of extensive data sets held by the BTO and other organizations, helped to identify causes of decline. Subsequent large-scale projects have tested the hypotheses identified using landscape-scale field experiments and have also considered the likely efficacy of management solutions (2001-2007). More recently, research has focused on testing the agri-environment solutions to farmland bird conservation problems and on measuring the effects of current issues in farmland such as the disappearance of set-aside. A parallel research direction is considering bird-habitat modelling, considering both habitat types per se and habitat heterogeneity. Planned future research directions include further work on heterogeneity and habitat interactions, the ecology of predation and the design and testing of agri-environment solutions to the farmland bird conservation problems that still remain.

Other Information

Member of the Editorial Board of Bird Study. Member of the British Ornithologists’ Union’s council.


BA Natural Sciences (Zoology), University of Cambridge 1990 PhD Aspects of Vocal Communication in the Carrion Crow, University of Leicester 1995

Recent BTO Publications

Plummer, K.E., Gillings, S. & Siriwardena, G.M. 2020. Evaluating the potential for bird‐habitat models to support biodiversity‐friendly urban planning. Journal of Applied Ecology View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.13703)
Alignier, A. Solé‐Senan, X.O., Robleño, I., Baraibar, B., Fahrig, L., Giralt, D., Gross, N., Martin, J.-L., Recasens, J., Sirami, C., Siriwardena, G., Bosem Baillod, A., Bertrand, C., Carrié, R., Hass, A., Henckel, L., Miguet, P., Badenhausser, I., Baudry, J., Bota, G., Bretagnolle, V., Brotons, L., Burel, F., Calatayud, F., Clough, Y., Georges, R., Gibon, A., Girard, J., Lindsay, K., Minano, J., Mitchell, S., Patry, N., Poulin, B., Tscharntke, T., Vialatte, A., Violle, C., Yaverscovski, N. & Batáry, P. 2020. Configurational crop heterogeneity increases within‐field plant diversity. Journal of Applied Ecology 57 : 654-663 View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.13585) 10pp
Chapman, D.S., Gunn, I.D.M., Pringle, H.E.K., Siriwardena, G.M., Taylor, P., Thackeray, S.J., Willby, N.J. & Carvalho, L. 2019. Invasion of freshwater ecosystems is promoted by network connectivity to hotspots of human activity. Global Ecology and Biogeography View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/geb.13051) 11pp
Lewis-Phillips, J., Brooks, S.J., Sayer, C.D., McCrea, R., Siriwardena, G., Robson, H., Harrison A.L. & Axmacher, J.C. 2019. Seasonal benefits of farmland pond management for birds. Bird Study View at journal website (DOI: 10.1080/00063657.2019.1688762) 11pp
Sirami, C., Gross, N., Bosem Baillod, A., Bertrand, C., Carrié, R., Hass, A., Henckel, L., Miguet, P., Vuillot, C., Alignier, A., Girard, J., Batár, P., Clough, Y., Violle, C., Giralt, D., Bota, G., Badenhausser, I., Lefebvre, G., Gauffre, B., Vialatte, A., Calatayud, F., Gil-Tenam A,, Tischendorf, L., Mitchell, S., Lindsay, K., Georges, R., Hilaire, S., Recasens, J., Solé-Senan, X.O., Robleño, I., Bosch, J., Barrientos, J.A., Ricarte, A., Marcos-Garcia, M.A., Miñano, J., Mathevet, R., Gibon, A., Baudry, J., Balent, G., Poulin, B., Burel, F., Tscharntke, T., Bretagnolle, V., Siriwardena, G.M., Ouin, A., Brotons, L., Martin, J.-L. & Fahrig, L. 2019. Increasing crop heterogeneity enhances multitrophic diversity across agricultural regions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences View at journal website (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1906419116) 6pp
Dadam, D. & Siriwardena, G.M. 2019. Agri-environment effects on birds in Wales: Tir Gofal benefited woodland and hedgerow species . Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 284 View at journal website (DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2019.106587)

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