Dr Phil Shaw:
Honorary Research Fellow

Dr Phil Shaw

Dr Phil Shaw
Harold Mitchell Building
University of St Andrews
St Andrews
KY16 9TH

tel: 01250 870108

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School of Biology

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My research interests focus on three main areas:

Avian tool use — Tool use is relatively widespread among primates, but seemingly rare among corvids, despite their advanced cognitive skills and the potential selective advantages of tool-assisted foraging. This raises two questions of particular interest: is tool use by corvids genuinely rare, or merely under-recorded; and what environmental conditions are conducive to its development?

Conservation biology — I feel a strong commitment to research likely to yield the evidence needed to guide conservation policy and actions. Currently, I am working in collaboration with researchers in East Africa to measure changes in raptor populations. Recently, we were able to present strong evidence of continent-wide declines in several African vulture species, providing the basis for a re-evaluation of their global threat status.

Life history contrasts — Why do tropical songbirds typically live longer and reproduce more slowly than north temperate species? To investigate the role of resource constraints and parental restraint, I have conducted a long-term study of an African rain forest passerine whose seasonality, productivity and survival contrast markedly with those of close counterparts in Europe.

Selected publications

Pomeroy, D., Kibuule, M., Nalwanga, D., Kaphu, G, Opige, M. & Shaw, P. (in press). Densities and population sizes of raptors in Uganda’s conservation areas. Ostrich

Shaw, P. (2016). Rainfall, leafing phenology and sunrise time as potential Zeitgeber for the bimodal, dry season laying pattern of an African rain forest tit (Parus fasciiventer). Journal of Ornithology 158(1): 263–275. DOI 10.1007/s10336-016-1395-6

Ogada, D., Shaw, P., Beyers, R.L., Buij, R., Murn, C., Thiollay, J.M., Beale, C.M., Holdo, R.M., Pomeroy, D., Baker, N., Krüger, S.C., Botha, A., Virani, M.Z., Monadjem, A. & Sinclair, A.R.E. (2016). Another continental vulture crisis: Africa’s vultures collapsing toward extinction. Conservation Letters 9: 89-97 DOI: 10.1111/conl.12182

Pomeroy, D., Walsh, F., Flint, P., Hellicar, M. & Shaw, P. (2016). A sustained decline in Cyprus Warbler Sylvia melanothorax numbers in western Cyprus, coinciding with the colonisation of its breeding range by the Sardinian Warbler S. melanocephala. Bird Conservation International DOI: 10.1017/S0959270915000337

Ogada, D., Botha, A. & Shaw, P. (2015). Ivory poachers and poison; drivers of Africa’s declining vulture populations. Oryx. DOI:

Pomeroy, D., Shaw, P., Opige, M., Kaphu, G., Ogada, D.I. & Virani, M.Z. (2014). Vulture populations in Uganda: using road survey data to measure both densities and encounter rates within protected and unprotected areas. Bird Conservation International. DOI: 10.1017/S095927091400029X

Shaw, P., Owoyesigire, N., Ngabirano, S. & Ebbutt, D. (2014). Life history traits associated with low annual fecundity in a central African Parid: the Stripe-breasted Tit Parus fasciiventer. Journal of Ornithology. DOI 10.1007/s10336-014-1115-z

Shaw, P. & Cresswell, W. (2014). Latitudinal variation in day length and working day length has a confounding effect when comparing nest attentiveness in tropical and temperate species. Journal of Ornithology Vol. 155(2): 481-489. DOI 10.1007/s10336-013-1029-1

Shaw, P., Njoroge, P., Otieno, V. & Mlamba, E. (2013). The range, abundance and habitat of Hinde’s Babbler Turdoides hindei: fine-scale changes in abundance during 2000–2011 reflect temporal variation in scrub cover. Bird Conservation International. DOI 10.1017/S0959270913000579

Shaw, P., Sinclair, A.R.E., Metzger, K., Nkwabi, A., Mduma, S.A.R. & Baker, N. (2010). Range expansion of the globally Vulnerable Karamoja Apalis Apalis karamojae in the Serengeti ecosystem. African Journal of Ecology 48: 751-758.

Shaw, P. (2010). Niche partitioning and densities of Albertine Rift endemics and their congeners in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda. Ostrich 81(1): 7-17.

Shaw, P. & Mungaya, E. (2006). The status and habitat of Karamoja Apalis Apalis karamojae in the Wembere Steppe, Sukumaland, Tanzania. Bird Conservation International 16(2): 97-111.

Shaw, P. (2005). Estimating local extinction rates over successive time-frames. Biological Conservation 121: 281-287.

Shaw, P. (2003). Breeding activity and provisioning rates of Stripe-breasted Tits Parus fasciiventer at Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda. Ostrich 74(1&2): 129-132.

Shaw, P. & Musina, J. (2003). Correlates of abundance and breeding success in the globally threatened Hinde’s babbler (Turdoides hindei) and its congener, northern pied babbler (T. hypoleucus). Biological Conservation 114(2): 281-288.

Shaw, P., Musina, J. & Gichuki, P. (2003). Estimating change in the geographic range and population size of Hinde’s Babbler Turdoides hindei. Bird Conservation International 13: 1-12.

Shaw, P. & Shewry, M. (2001). Population density and habitat associations of restricted-range bird species at Ruhija, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda. Bird Conservation International 11: 161-174.

Shaw, P. & Shewry, M. (2000). Abundance, group size and breeding success of Bare-cheeked Babblers Turdoides gymnogenys. Ibis 142: 58-64.

Shaw, P. (1986). Factors affecting the breeding performance of Antarctic Blue eyed Shags Phalacrocorax atriceps. Ornis Scandinavica 17: 141 150.

Shaw, P. (1986). The relationship between dominance behaviour, bill size and age group in Greater Sheathbills Chionis alba. Ibis 128: 48 56.

Shaw, P. (1985). Age differences within breeding pairs of Blue eyed Shags Phalacrocorax atriceps. Ibis 127: 537 543.

Shaw, P. (1985). Brood reduction in the Blue eyed Shag Phalacrocorax atriceps. Ibis 127: 476 494.

Shaw, P. (1984). The social organisation of the Pin tailed Whydah Vidua macroura in Northern Ghana. Ibis 126: 463 473.

Books and book chapters:

Kasangaki, A., Bitariho, R., Shaw, P., Robbins, M. & McNeilage, A. (2012). Long-term ecological and socio-economic changes in and around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, South-western Uganda. In: Plumptre, A.J. (ed.) The Ecological Impact of Long-term Changes in Africa’s Rift Valley. Nova Science Publications: New York. pp. 117-139.

Shaw, P. & Thompson, D.B.A. (eds.) (2006). The Nature of the Cairngorms: Diversity in a Changing Environment. TSO, Scotland: Edinburgh. 455 pp.

Shaw, P. & Thompson, D.B.A. (2006). Patterns of species diversity in the Cairngorms. In: Shaw, P. & Thompson, D.B.A. (eds.), The Nature of the Cairngorms: Diversity in a Changing Environment. TSO, Scotland: Edinburgh. pp. 395-411.

Shaw, P., Thompson, D.B.A., Duncan, K. & Buxton, N. (2006). Birds. In: Shaw, P. & Thompson, D.B.A. (eds.), The Nature of the Cairngorms: Diversity in a Changing Environment. TSO, Scotland: Edinburgh. pp. 292-338.

Hill, D., Fasham, M., Tucker, G., Shewry, M. & Shaw, P. (eds.) (2005). Handbook of Biodiversity Methods: Survey, Evaluation and Monitoring. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. 573 pp.

Thompson, D.B.A., Shaw, P., Riley, H.T., Shewry, M.C., Mackey, E.C., Robertson, P. & Morton, K. (2003). An overview of land use change and implications for raptors. In: Thompson, D.B.A, Redpath, S.M., Fielding, A., Marquiss, M. and Galbraith, C.A. (eds.). Birds of Prey in a Changing Environment. The Stationary Office: Edinburgh. pp. 303-317.

Mackey, E., Shaw, P., Holbrook, J., Hall, J., Saunders, G. & Ellis, N. (2001). Natural Heritage Trends: Scotland 2001. SNH: Perth. 200 pp.

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