Liz Humphreys

Liz Humphreys


Research Ecologist, BTO Scotland 


My current job is to develop research projects principally concerned with wetland and marine issues.  My most recent work has focused on understanding the impacts of the renewable industry on seabirds. Previously to joining the BTO, my main research interests involved quantifying the factors that determine the foraging performance and energetics of seabirds.


BSc (Hons) Environmental Biology, University of St Andrews, 1991-1995
MSc Ecology, University of Aberdeen, 1997-1998.
PhD Kittiwake Foraging and Energetics, University of Stirling, 1998-2002.

Research Interests/Responsibilities

As well as my commitments to the Wetland & Marine team within the BTO, I also worked on a diverse range of topics including machair, urban and woodland ecology. I have also worked on a number of policy relevant projects including the management of goose management populations in Scotland.

Other Information 

Honorary Lecturer, SBES, University of Stirling
Former editor of the Seabird Group Newsletter and member of its Executive Committee
European representative of the World Seabird Union

Selected publications

  • Humphreys, E.M., Cook, A.S.C.P., and Burton, N.H.K. 2015. Collision, displacement and barrier effect concept note. BTO Research Report 669. Report to Natural England.
  • Humphreys, E.M., Gillings, S., Musgrove, A., Austin, G., Marchant, G, and Calladine J 2015. An update of the review on the impacts of piscivorous birds on salmonid populations and game fisheries in Scotland. Commissioned Research Report to SNH.
  • Calladine, J., Humphreys, E.M. & Boyle, J. 2015. Changes in breeding wader populations of the Uist machair between 1983 and 2014. Scottish Birds 35(3): 207- 215.
  • Johnston, A., Thaxter, C. B., Austin, G. E., Cook, A. S.C.P., Humphreys, E. M., Still, D. A., Mackay, A., Irvine, R., Webb, A. and Burton, N.H.K. 2015. Modelling the abundance and distribution of marine birds accounting for uncertain species identification. Journal of Applied Ecology 52: 150–160.
  • Cook, A.S.C.P., Still, D.A., Humphreys, E.M. & Wright, L.J. 2015. Review of evidence for identified seabird aggregations. JNCC Report No 537. JNCC, Peterborough. Download
  • Cook, A. S. C. P., Humphreys, E. M., Masden, E. A. and Burton, N. H. K. 2014. The avoidance rates of collision between birds and offshore turbines. Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science Volume 5 Number 16, Report Published by Marine Scotland Science.
  • Humphreys, E.M. Austin, G.E., Thaxter, C., Johnston, A., Risely, K., Frederiksen, M. & Burton, N.H.K. 2014. Development of MSFD Indicators, Baselines and Targets for Population Size and Distribution of Marine Birds in the UK. Report to JNCC.
  • Calladine, J., Pakeman, R.J., Humphreys, E., Huband, S. & Fuller, R.J. 2014.  Changes in breeding wader assemblages, vegetation and land use within machair environments over three decades.  Bird Study doi: 10.1080/00063657.2014.917604.
  • Johnston, A., Cook, A.S.C.P., Wright, L.J., Humphreys, E.M. & Burton, N.H.K. 2014. Modelling flight heights of marine birds to more accurately assess collision risk with offshore wind turbines.  Journal of Applied Ecology 51: 31-41.
  • Mackenzie, M.L., Scott-Hayward, L.A.S., Oedekoven, C.S., Skov, H., Humphreys, E. and Rexstad, E. 2013. Statistical Modelling of Seabird and Cetacean data: Guidance Document.  University of St. Andrews contract for Marine Scotland, SB9 (CR/2012/05).
  • Humphreys, E.M., Kirkland, P., Russell, S., Sutcliffe, R., Coyle, J. & Chamberlain, D. 2012. Urban Biodiversity: Successes and Challenges: The Biodiversity in Glasgow (BIG) project: the value of volunteer participation in promoting and conserving urban biodiversity. The Glasgow Naturalist Volume 25, Part 4.
  • Crabtree, R., Humphreys, E., Moxey, A. & Wernham, C. 2011.2010 Review of Goose Management Policy in Scotland. BTO and CJC Consulting report to the Scottish Government.
  • Toms, M., Humphreys, L. & Wernham, C. 2011. Developing our understanding of Biodiversity in Scotland's Gardens: the role o BTO's Garden Bird Watch.  In: The Changing Nature of Scotland.  Edited by Mars, S.J., Foster, S., Hendrie, C., Mackay, E.C. & Thompson, D.B.A. Edinburgh: TSO Scotland.
  • Humphreys, E., Toms, M., Newson, S., Baker, J. & Wormald, K. 2011.  An examination of reptile and amphibian populations in gardens, the factors influencing garden use and the role of a 'Citizen Science' approach for monitoring their populations within this habitat. BTO Research Report No. 572.
  • Banks, A.N., Crick, H.Q.P., Coombes, R., Benn, S., Ratcliffe, D.A. & Humphreys, E.M. 2010. The breeding status of Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus in the UK and Isle of Man in 2002. Bird Study 57: 421–436.
  • Fuller, R.J., Humphreys, E.M., Wilson, J.D. Hoccum, D. and Calladine, J.C. 2010. Changes in the breeding wader populations of the machair of the Western Isles, Scotland, between 2000 and 2007. Bird Study 57: 121-124.
  • Hamer, K.C., Humphreys, E.M., Magalhaes, M.C., Garthe, S., Hennicke, J., Peters, G., Gremillet, D., Skov, H., & Wanless, S. 2009. Fine-scale foraging behaviour of a medium-ranging marine predator. Journal of Animal Ecology 78 (4): 880-889.
  • Humphreys, L., Winterbottom, S., Smith, M., Humphrey, J., Ockendon, N., & Chamberlain, D. 2008. Development of a methodology for predicting the impact of demographic change and urban development on biodiversity. Report to SNIFFER.
  • Calladine, J., Humphreys, E.M., Strachan, F. & Jardine, D.C. 2009. Forestry thinning in commercial conifer plantations has little effect on bird species richness and breeding abundance. Bird Study 56: 1,137-141.
  • Newson, S.E., Mitchell, P.I. Parsons, M., O’Brian, S.H., Austin, G.E., Benn, S., Black, J., Blackburn, J., Brodie, B., Humphreys,E., Leech, D., Prior, M. & Webster, M. 2008. Population decline of Leach’s Storm-petrel Oceanodroma Leucorhoa within the largest colony in Britain and Ireland. Seabird 21: 77-84.
  • Skov, H., Humphreys, E., Garthe, S., Geitner, K., Hamer, K., Hennicke, J., Parner, H., GrĂ©millet, D. & Wanless, S. 2008. Application of habitat suitability modelling to tracking data of marine animals as a means of analyzing their feeding habitats. Ecological Modelling 212: 504-512.
  • Hamer, K.C., Humphreys, E.M., Garthe, S., Hennicke, J., Peters, G., Gremillet, D., Phillips, R.A., Harris, M.P. & Wanless, S. 2007. Annual variation in diets, feeding locations and foraging behaviour of Gannets in the North Sea: flexibility, consistency and constraint. Marine Ecology-Progress Series 338: 295-305 2007.
  • Humphreys, E.M., Wanless, S. & Bryant, D.M. 2007. Elevated costs for sitting on water in a surface feeder: the Black-legged Kittiwake. Ibis 149: 106-111.
  • Humphreys, E.M., Wanless, S. & Bryant, D.M. 2006. Stage-dependent foraging traits of breeding Black-legged Kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla: distinguishing behavioural responses to intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Journal of Avian Biology 37: 436-446.
  • Hamer, K.C., Lewis, S., Wanless, S., Phillips, R.A., Sherratt, T.N., Humphreys, E.M., Hennicke, J. & Garthe, S. 2006. Use of Gannets to monitor prey availability in the NE Atlantic Ocean: colony size, diet and foraging behaviour. In: Top predators in marine ecosystems: their role in monitoring and management (eds. Boyd, I.L., Wanless, S. & Camphuysen, K.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Enstipp, M.R., Daunt, F., Wanless, S., Humphreys, E.M., Hamer, K.C, Benvenuti, S. & GrĂ©millet, D. 2006. Foraging energetics of North Sea birds confronted with fluctuating prey availability. In: Top predators in marine ecosystems: their role in monitoring and management. (eds Boyd, I.L., Wanless, S. & Camphuysen, K.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Daunt, F., Camphuysen, C.J., Humphreys, E.M., Hamer, K.C., Wanless, S. & Skov, H. 2005. Local/daily scale hydrography, prey and seabird interactions. In Understanding Marine Food-web Processes: an Ecosystem Approach to Sustainable Sandeel Fisheries in the North Sea: IMPRESS Final Report (ed C.J. Camphuysen), pp 163-180. NIOZ-rapport, 2005-5, NIOZ, Texel, Netherlands.
  • Summers, R.W., Humphreys, E.M., Newall, M. & Donald, C. 2002. Nest site selection by Crossbills Loxia spp. in ancient native woodlands at Abernethy Forest, Strathspey, Highland. Bird Study 49:258-262.


Email: liz.humphreys [at]
BTO Scotland
School of Biological & Environmental Sciences
Cottrell Building, University of Stirling
Stirling FK9 4LA
Telephone: 01786 466 560
Fax: 01786 566 561