Rob Robinson

Associate Director, Research

Rob is one of the senior scientists of the British Trust for Ornithology and provides strategic leadership and co-ordination of research across BTO as a whole. This includes improving the support our scientists have to undertake analyses effectively and ensuring best use is made of the valuable data collected by volunteers both for academic research and to inform policy. 

Interests & Responsibilities

Changes in bird populations and distributions are determined by demography, particularly the combination of survival and productivity. Rob's main interest lies in understanding how these processes operate, within an applied context, how the sum of individuals creates them and how they vary at different scales. Much of his recent work at BTO has focussed on combining data from the Ringing and Nest Record Schemes with data on population changes to understand the reasons for population declines. and census schemes to understand the reasons for population declines. This work involves applying novel statistical methods to make better use of  national data and contributes to BirdTrends, the annual assessment of Britain's bird populations. Rob started research with a particular focus on farmland birds, how they use their food supply and how changes in agriculture have, and will, afect them; effects of demographic parameters vary spatially, both geographically and with environmental variables such as habitat; Rob also has an interest in the role that diseases play in bird populations.

Other Information

Chair, European Union of Ringing Schemes (EURING)
Associate Editor, Ibis
Honorary Reader, University of East Anglia
Visiting Researcher, Swiss Ornithological Institute
Scientific Chair of BOU 2014 Conference and Co-Chair Euring 2017 Analytical Meeting
Member Nominated Trustee, BTO Assured Pension Scheme


BSc (Hons) Zoology, Edinburgh University, 1989-1993. PhD Ecology and conservation of farmland birds, University of East Anglia, 1993-1997.

Recent BTO Publications

Kirkland, M., Atkinson, P.W., Clark J.A. & Robinson, R.A. 2024. How effective has the management of Cockle and Mussel fisheries on The Wash estuary been in ensuring that there is sufficient food for birds?. Research Report no. 770. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford ISBN: 978-1-912642-67-0 20pp
Gardner, E., Robinson, R.A., Julian, A., Boughey, K., Langham, S., Tse-Leon, J., Petrovskii, S., Baker, D.J., Bellamy, C., Buxton, A., Franks, S., Monk, C., Morris, N., Park, K.J., Petrovan, S., Pitt, K., Taylor, R., Turner, R.K., Allain, S.J.R., Bradley, V., Broughton, R.K., Cartwright, M., Clarke, K., Cranfield, J., Fuentes-Montemayor, E., Gandola, R., Gent, T., Hinsley, S.A., Madsen, T., Reading, C., Redhead, J.W., Reveley, S., Wilkinson, J., Williams, C., Woodward, I., Baker, J., Briggs, P., Dyason, S., Langton, S., Mawby, A., Pywell, R.F. & Bullock, J.M. 2024. A family of process-based models to simulate landscape use by multiple taxa. Landscape Ecology Link to publication View at journal website (DOI: 10.1007/s10980-024-01866-4)
O’Hanlon, N.J., Harris, S.J., Thaxter, C.B., Boersch-Supan, P.H., Robinson, R.A., Balmer, D.E. & Burton, N.H.K. 2024. Seabird population and demographic monitoring in the UK: a review and recommendations for future sampling. Research Report no. 754. ISBN: 978-1-912642-49-6
2024. BirdTrends 2023. British Trust for Ornithology
Robinson, R.A. 2024. Understanding population change: the value of the EuroCES constant-effort ringing programme. Ringing & Migration 38 : 18-28 Link to publication View at journal website (DOI: 10.1080/03078698.2024.2311771)
Boersch-Supan, P.H., Hanmer, H.J. & Robinson, R.A. 2024. Extended moult phenology models improve inferences about moult duration and timing. Ornithology View at journal website (DOI: 10.1093/ornithology/ukae003)

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