The endangered Black-throated Finch southern subspecies (Poephila cincta cincta) is one of 12 endemic granivorous birds that have declined from the tropical savannas across Australia’s north (Franklin 1999). While there is some evidence that the declines of these birds is driven primarily from habitat clearing and modification due to agriculture, there is still high uncertainty surrounding their specific ecological requirements. Better understanding is required to effectively improve habitat quality and stem the decline of the Black-throated Finch.

This PhD project will involve field research to study the ecological requirements of Black-throated Finch, building on the work of previous studies (Rechetelo 2015; Tang 2016).

Specifically, this project would investigate:

1.       Breeding biology and factors that limit breeding success

2.       Feeding and other habitat requirements

This project may involve colour banding to mark individual birds, and the use of motion sensor cameras to investigate activity.

Essential selection criteria:

  • An undergraduate degree in science;
  • Ecological research experience through an Honours or Masters program;
  • Evidence of strong written and communication skills (e.g. published works);
  • Ecological field experience

Desirable selection criteria:

  • Ornithological experience
  • Strong quantitative skills
  • Banding licence or willingness to apply for one

The successful candidate will be supervised by Prof Lin Schwarzkopf (James Cook University) and Dr April Reside (University of Queensland).

Please contact:

Prof Lin Schwarzkopf with a 1) current CV, 2) contact information for at least 2 referees and 3) a 1-page letter of interest that describes your qualifications and relevant experience.

Email [email protected]


References cited:

Franklin, D. C. (1999). Evidence of disarray amongst granivorous bird assemblages in the savannas of northern Australia, a region of sparse human settlement. Biological Conservation 90, 53-63.

Rechetelo, J. (2015). Movement, habitat requirements, nesting and foraging site selection: a case study of an endangered granivorous bird, the Black-throated finch Poephila cincta cincta in north-eastern Australia). PhD Thesis, James Cook University.

Tang, L. (2016). Conservation genetics of granivorous birds in a heterogeneous landscape: the case of the Black-throated Finch (Poephila cincta)). PhD Thesis, James Cook University