BirdCare Aotearoa can offer a wide range of research opportunities. If you require research as part of your studies or report, we at BirdCare Aotearoa can provide a diverse array of avian research topics. These research topics can include research on avian physiology, anatomy, genetic biosecurity, pest management, GIS, conservation and much more. Whether you are from a University, research facility or just a keen volunteer, we here at BirdCare Aotearoa are willing to collaborate to help fulfill your research requirements.

Research has been undertaken at BirdCare Aotearoa since 2021 and has been a useful resource for a variety of different students and researchers. Some of the latest research involved at BirdCare Aotearoa involves studying the conservation of seabirds and shorebirds. Additionally, past research has involved studying bird vocalization, anatomy, genetics, and physiology. This is just a small indicator regarding the potential research we can help provide.

If you are interested don’t hesitate to contact the research coordinator, Ariel-Micaiah Heswall:

Past and Current Researchers

André Bellvé


“My doctoral research aims to understand what we have lost in terms of ecosystem services as animals go extinct or are pushed out of their natural habitats. To understand this I have been studying seabirds across Aotearoa and the nutrients they bring onto land through their poo – BirdCare has been absolutely phenomenal in helping me get samples from a whole range of birds that are otherwise difficult to access and to avoid any additional stress handling them can cause. The whole team has been amazingly supportive and collaborative throughout!” – André Bellvé, School of Biological Science, Waipapa Taumata Rau – University of Auckland

Anna Santure

“In our research we are using genetics to track the establishment and measure the current connectivity of populations of the invasive common myna and common starling in Aoteaora New Zealand. We have been very grateful to collaborate with BirdCare Aotearoa in this work, who to-date have provided us with over a dozen myna samples, a valuable dataset that fills a gap we had in our population sampling. We are excited to continue collaborating in the future!” Dr Anna Santure, School of Biological Science, Waipapa Taumata Rau – University of Auckland

Ariel-Micaiah Heswall

“As a seabird sensory ecologist I am fascinated with how seabirds perceive the environment – particularly threats to them such as light pollution and plastic ingestion. BirdCare Aotearoa has made me feel welcome and promotes research. Without BirdCare Aotearoa, I would not have been able to have access to seabird specimens and data to write three chapters for my PhD. This resource of data they provide is not to go unmissed.” – Ariel-Micaiah Heswall, School of Biological Science, Waipapa Taumata Rau – University of Auckland

Brian Wijaya

“I am doing a project regarding the interaction between shorebirds of Aotearoa and plastic pollution. Despite being common environmental pollution, plastic is often ignored regarding its indirect and unseen impact on wildlife. Recent studies and media have shown the effects of plastic pollution on animals such as sea turtles and seabirds while shorebirds are still mostly ignored. Shorebirds are a group of animals that have high mortality when they are young but have low mortality when they are adults; their main cause of mortality is through predation meaning not many carcasses left to be studied and the chance to find any dead shorebird while walking on the beach is low. In my study, I focus on plastic ingestion in shorebirds and how it can be related to their sensory and feeding ecology. Birdcare Aotearoa has been helpful and supportive in helping me gain data that I need for my project by providing shorebird specimens.” – Brian Wijaya, School of Biological Science, Waipapa Taumata Rau – University of Auckland

Kamya Patel

“I am a Master’s student at the University of Auckland studying seabird sensory ecology. My project involves looking at the sensory morphology of albatrosses, gannets and shags and linking it to plastic ingestion. I also model plastic colour onto seabird vision to see which colours are the most attractive. BirdCare Aotearoa has provided many seabird specimens for my research. The team is also incredibly knowledgeable, passionate about Aotearoa’s birds, and always willing to help. Collaborating with them has been an amazing experience!” – Kamya Patel, School of Biological Science, Waipapa Taumata Rau – University of Auckland

Michelle Roper

“I am a researcher at Massey University, Auckland, studying how birds produce their wonderfully diverse vocalisations. I study birds vocal organ (the syrinx) and my projects include studying how the vocal organ size links to birdsong complexity in honeyeaters and I am looking to start new projects on how sexually distinctive vocalisations are produced by seabirds. BirdCare Aotearoa have been amazingly supportive of my research to contribute specimens that unfortunately did not survive during their rehabilitation at BirdCare Aotearoa, but their contribution to my research will help us further understand how birds’ sing.’” – Michelle Roper – Massey University

Peter Hadden

“I am an eye surgeon who got talked into trying to figure out how and what penguins can see. My research is mainly centered around the structure and function of their eye and adjacent parts of the head, such as the muscles that move the eyes and the bones that protect it, and I hope to earn a PhD in this area from the University of Auckland. BirdCare Aotearoa is very approachable and happy to share their insights and, where appropriate, their animals to further the research cause. I come from an anatomical background, so perhaps most interesting for me are their observations on what penguins do with their vision, as one can only understand why penguins’ eyes are the way they are if one knows what they use their vision for.” – Peter Hadden, School of Medicine, Waipapa Taumata Rau – University of Auckland