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I am a conservation biologist and data scientist with a passion for the natural world and figuring out how it works. I have just completed an IUCN led project in Kutai National Park identifying tree species that are climate change vulnerable and resilient, with the aim of steering reforestation projects in an orangutan hotspot. I have just completed a two year conservation/research survey of the birds of the Karoo Biome, South Africa, on behalf of BirdLife South Africa, after 5 years researching birds of the Fynbos Biome at the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology. I continue to be involved with research in the Peruvian Amazon, where I did my PhD, but I now live and conduct most of my research on Blue Hill Nature Reserve in the Western Cape, South Africa. As a member of the Lee Family Trust running the Blue Hill Escape guest house, I am also able to support various research projects: Cape Rockjumper and Leopard research currently. I have accomplished 3 big projects that were largely thought to be impossible: obtaining density estimates for Blue-headed Macaw and other parrot species; a biome wide survey of the endemics birds of the fynbos conducted on foot and by bicycle; and obtaining density estimates, population sizes and ecological parameters determining the distribution of the Hottentot Buttonquail, an endangered fynbos endemic. Due to undertaking and completion of these projects I have been labelled an 'extreme biologist'.

I am currently Editor-in-Chief of Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology

A good place to find out more about me is on my blog:

Google Scholar profile

Alan T. K. Lee's reports and publications

2019 - Peer reviewed

Lee, A.T.K., Carr, J.A., Ahmad, B., Arbainsyah, Ferisa, A., Handoko, Y., Harsono, R., Graham, L.L.B., Kabangnga, L., Kurniawan, N.P, Keßler, P.J.A., Kuncoro, P., Prayunita, D., Priadiati, A., Purwanto, E., Russon, A.E., Sheil, D., Sylva, N., Wahyudi, A. and Foden, W.B (2019). Reforesting for the climate of tomorrow: Recommendations for strengthening orangutan conservation and climate change resilience in Kutai National Park, Indonesia. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. viii + 70pp

D.H. de Swardt, A. Lee, H.J. Butler & H.D. Oschadleus. 2018. Biometrics and diet of two closely related birds: Karoo Prinia (Prinia maculosa) and Drakensberg Prinia (Prinia hypoxantha). Indago 34: 125-133. Publisher link.

2019 - Popular articles

Lee, A. 2019. Fire Refugees. African BirdLife. Blog version of the article.

Wright DR, Theron S, Lee ATK 2019. Birds of the Karoo: Ecology and Conservation. BirdLife South Africa. Johannesburg, South Africa. Free Download .

Wright DR, Theron S, Lee ATK 2019. Voëls van die Karoo: Ekologie en Bewaring. BirdLife South Africa. Johannesburg, South Africa. Gratis beskikbaar .

Lee, A. The Karoo Birds Research and Conservation Project: Final Project Report based on fieldwork conducted through the Karoo south of the Orange River during 2017 and 2018. Unpublished report for BirdLife South Africa.

Lee, ATK. 2019. Book Review: Biologists in the Age of Totalitarianism: Personal Reminiscences of Ornithologists and Other Naturalists. Ostrich. Publisher link.

2018 - Peer reviewed

Alan TK Lee, Campbell Fleming, Dale R Wright. 2018. Modelling bird atlas reporting rate as a function of density in the southern Karoo, South Africa. Ostrich 89(4): 363-372. Publisher link.

Krista N Oswald, Alan TK Lee, Ben Smit. 2018. Comparison of physiological responses to high temperatures in juvenile and adult Cape Rockjumpers Chaetops frenatus. Ostrich 89(4): 377-382. Publisher link.

Krista N Oswald, Alan TK Lee, Ben Smit. 2018. Seasonal physiological responses to heat in an alpine range-restricted bird: the Cape Rockjumper (Chaetops frenatus). Journal of Ornithology. 159(4): 1063–1072. Publisher link. BioRxiv.

Salamatu Abdu, Alan TK Lee & Susan J Cunningham. 2018. The presence of artificial water points structures an arid-zone avian community over small spatial scales. Ostrich 89(4): 339-346. Publisher link.

Abdu S, McKechnie AE, Lee ATK, Cunningham SJ. 2018. Can providing shade at water points help Kalahari birds beat the heat? Journal of Arid Environments. Publisher link.

Lee ATK, Simon CA. 2018. Publication incentives based on journal rankings disadvantage local publications. South African Journal of Science 114: 1-3. Publisher link (free).

Lee ATK, Reeves B, Wright DR. 2018. Hottentot Buttonquail Turnix hottentottus: Endangered or just overlooked? Bird Conservation International. Publisher link. Kudos link.

Lee ATK, Wright DR, Reeves B. 2018. Habitat variables associated with encounters of Hottentot Buttonquail Turnix hottentottus during flush surveys across the Fynbos biome. Ostrich: 1-6. Publisher link.

2018 - Popular articles

Lee, ATK. 2018. Book Review: Why Birds Matter: Avian Ecological Function and Ecosystem Services. Ostrich 89(2): 203-204. Publisher link.

Lee, A. Killing crows. African Birdlife 7(1): 12-14.

Wright, DR and Lee, A. Surveying the Great Unknown. African Birdlife 7(1).

Lee, A. 2018. Stress in the city. African Birdlife 6(4): 13.

2017 - Peer reviewed

Wright D.R, Lee A.T.K. 2017. Bird -friendly Habitat Management Guidelines for the endemic birds of the Fynbos Biome. Johannesburg, South Africa: BirdLife South Africa. Free download.

Lee A.T.K, Marsden S.J, Tatum-Hume E, Brightsmith D.J. 2017. The effects of tourist and boat traffic on parrot geophagy in lowland Peru. Biotropica 49: 716-725. Publisher link.

Lee A.T.K. 2017. Sentinel behavior or vigilance at a macaw claylick? Ornitologia Neotropical 28: 253-260. Publisher link.

Berkunsky I, et al. 2017. Current threats faced by Neotropical parrot populations. Biological Conservation. Publisher website.

Lee, A.T.K, Wright, D.R. & Barnard, P. 2017. Hot bird drinking patterns: drivers of water visitation in a fynbos bird community. African Journal of Ecology. doi:10.1111/aje.12384 Publisher link. Prepublication proof

Mackay, B., Lee, A.T.K., Barnard, P., Møller, A. P., & Brown, M. 2017. Urbanization, climate and ecological stress indicators in an endemic nectarivore, the Cape Sugarbird. Journal of Ornithology, 1-12. pdf.

Lee, A.T.K, Altwegg, R. & Barnard, P. 2017. Estimating conservation metrics from atlas data: the case of southern African endemic birds. Bird Conservation International. Publisher link. Prepublication proof

Lee, A.T.K & Barnard, P. 2017. How well do bird atlas reporting rates reflect bird densities? Correlates of detection from the Fynbos biome, South Africa, with applications for population estimation. Ostrich 88(1). Publisher link. Prepublication proof

2017 - Popular articles

Lee, A.T.K. 2017. Ostrich: a journal for Africa. African Birdlife 5(3): 67.

Lee, A. and Macray, M. 2017. The shocking truth about electric fences. Grassroots: Newsletter of the Grassland Society of Southern Africa 17: 22-23.

Various chapters in this Biosphere Expeditions report of research activities from 2016

Prior to 2017

Lee, A.T.K. 2016. Turning the page: a new editor for Ostrich. African Birdlife 4(6):66.

Milne, R; Cunningham, S.J.; Lee, A.T.K.; Smit, B. 2015. The role of thermal physiology in recent declines of birds in a biodiversity hotspot. Conservation Physiology 3: doi:10.1093/conphys/cov048. Free download from publisher website.

Lee, A.T.K. & Barnard, P 2015. Spatial and temporal patterns of insect-order activity in the fynbos, South Africa. Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies. 3(6): 95-102. Free download from publisher website.

Lee, A.T.K. & Barnard, P; Hockey, P. 2015. Population metrics for fynbos birds, South Africa: densities, and detection and capture rates from a Mediterranean-type ecosystem. Ostrich. 86(1-2). 179-186. Ostrich.

Lee, A.T.K. & Barnard, P 2015. Endemic birds of the Fynbos biome: a conservation assessment and impacts of climate change. Bird Conservation International. pdf prepub proof.

Lee, A.T.K. & Oswald, K.N 2015. Rock Kestrel attack on a Cape Rockjumper caught in a spring trap. Afring News. 44: 9-10. Free download from publisher website.

Lee, A.T.K. & Barnard, P 2014. Aspects of the ecology and morphology of the protea seedeater, Crithagra leucopterus, a little-known Fynbos endemic. African Zoology. 49(2): 295–300. pdf proof.

Lee, A.T.K. & Simmons, R 2014. What’s eating Black Harriers Circus maurus? Two predation events camera-recorded on a ground nesting raptor. Gabar. pdf proof.

Lee, A.T.K., Donald J. Brightsmith, Mario P. Vargas, Karina Q. Leon, Aldo J. Mejia and Stuart J. Marsden 2014. Diet and Geophagy Across a Western Amazonian Parrot Assemblage Biotropica 46(3): 322–330. prepub proof. Biotropica abstract.

Lee, A. 2014. Seeing stars: heavenly navigation. African Birdlife 2(4):13.

Lee, A.T.K & Barnard, P. 2013. The birds of Blue Hill Nature Reserve: the Fynbos Endemic Bird Survey. Afring News 42: 21-28 download pdf

Lee, A.T.K 2013 Parrots and parrot claylicks of Peru and South America. LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing. Link

Educational Poster: Know your Fynbos Endemic Birds. Download (1.5Mb)

Lee, A. 2013. Fynbos enigma: Hottentot Buttonquail in the Kouga Mountains. African Birdlife 1(6):20-22.

Lee, A. 2013. Fine feathered fauna of the Fynbos. Aardvark September:7

Lee, A., Barnard, P. & Wright, D. 2013. Phoenix of the fynbos. African Birdlife 2(1):55.

Lee, A.T.K 2012. Cape Sugarbird: Flowering Protea may predict occurrence and abundance. Poster presented at the Fynbos Forum. Download pdf version. This poster won the prize for best poster, out of c30 posters.

Lee, A.T.K. 2012. Road Rage (If you speed, you're a killer). Africa Birds and Birding. 17(4): 8 - 10 Blog post featuring the text of the article

Lee, A.T.K and Barnard, P. 2012. Endemic fynbos avifauna: comparative range declines a cause for concern. Ornithological Observations. Download pdf

Lee, A.T.K and Marsden, S.J. 2012 The Influence of Habitat, Season, and Detectability on Abundance Estimates across an Amazonian Parrot Assemblage. Biotropica. Download pdf

Lee, A.T.K. 2010 Parrot Claylicks. PhD. Download pdf (3Mb)

Brightsmith, D. and Lee, A. 2010 Macaw conservation in the Tambopata National
Reserve, Peru: evaluation of tourism impacts and population management techniques. Earthwatch Science Report. Download

Lee, Kumar, Brightsmith and Marsden 2010 Claylick distribution in South America - do patterns of where help answer the question why? Ecography Download || Supplementary material

Lee, A. 2009 Discovering Claylicks. Psittascene Download

Biosphere 2009 Mammal recovery after hunting Download

Biosphere 2008 Including seasonal patterns of Red-and-green macaw activity; and macaw social behaviour at claylicks Download

Biosphere 2006 Including the impact of boat traffic on macaw behaviour and feeding Download

Biosphere 2005 Download

News articles featuring Alan Lee

Helge Eek 2010 A Norwegian article on Biosphere Expeditions 2009 Icons of the Peruvian Amazon. Download

Lawrence Mackin 2009 CSI: Amazon. Irish Times. Download1 2

Martin Amanshauser 2009 ZU SECHZEHNT LEHM LECKEN. Univsersum. Download