Current research


Abundance, distribution and acoustic behaviours of Grenadian birds, including endemic and restricted-range species

Grenada is host to many species of passerine birds, but to date, few studies have examined the abundance, distribution and behaviours of birds living in Grenada. This means that for some endemic species, such as the Lesser Antillean tanager, Tangara cucullata, very little is known about their true conservation status. A key issue in conservation is the need to detect and monitor vulnerable species. We need to establish baseline data and a population monitoring program for birds in Grenada focusing on endemic and restricted-range species, especially because the country is undergoing rapid building and development. Monitoring of avian species involves identifying individuals visually and aurally, however, aural identification in Grenada can be challenging because there are very few recordings of Grenadian species. An acoustic database of Grenadian recordings can help in that regard. Furthermore, acoustic and behavioural observations allow for assessing the potential to use vocalizations for remote detection and monitoring of species, as well as determining the impact of human presence on behaviours influencing survival and reproduction.

I am collaborating with Dr. Nicola Koper at the Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba ( Together we are co-advising Ramon Williams a Master's student at NRI and we are collecting and sharing data on the abundance and distributions of Grenadian avifauna. I will be focusing on acoustic signals and behavioural questions, whilst the Koper lab will be focusing on a variety of questions including banding efforts, morphology and plumage characteristics, ecology and basic natural history knowledge. The Koper lab and I share the common goal and passion of bird conservation.

Ramon Williams, B.Sc.

Thesis Focus: Landbird habitat use in agroforestry in Grenada

Photograph: Joshua Yetman, St. George's University

Behavioural ecology and acoustic communication of  bananaquits morph in Grenada, West Indies

The bananaquit, Coereba flaveola, is a well-studied bird found in the Caribbean region. A literature search on the “Web of Science” using the search terms ‘bananaquit’ reveals 88 different articles, ranging from studies of genetics, melanism, breeding ecology, foraging and distribution. In Grenada, other than the Grenada Dove, the bananaquit has been the most studied bird species. It has been studied in regards to the melanism, genetics, and breeding ecology. The bananquit has two morphs a "yellow" and a "black" and interestingly, the black morph only exists in Grenada, St. Vincent and two small islands of the coast of Venezuela. The colour morph ratio was previously studied in the 1980"s by Joseph Wunderle Jr, as well as a short study on colour morph in the southern end of Grenada in 2003 (MacColl, A. D. C., & Stevenson), In conjunction with Ramon Williams and students from the SGU Education, Conservation and Outreach (ECO) organization, I am examining the stasis of the colour morph cline and possible acoustic and behavioural mechanisms that may drive the stability (or dynamism) of the cline. 

Miya Warrington, Ph.D.

Photograph: Joshua Yetman, St. George's University

Subpages (1): Why study communication?