Carrie Hickman

Carrie is from the Scottish Borders but always dreamt of living and working in Africa with its incredible wildlife and after a life changing decision to come to South Africa to complete a field guiding course (FGASA) in 2016, this dream became a reality. The field guiding course introduced her to South African birds, where bird identification by sight and by call was part of the taught course and she became hooked. She also learnt a lot about animal behaviour and had many encounters with dangerous wildlife whilst on foot, all of which has prepared her well for working in the bush.

She realised that she wanted to learn more about the environment, and the environmental issues we face, in a more scientific way. After the field guide course, she embarked on a BSc Honours degree in Environmental Science through distance learning at The Open University. During this time, she was lucky enough to become involved with the APNR Southern Ground Hornbill Project, run by the FitzPatrick institute of African Ornithology in the Greater Kruger, and became the project field assistant. In 2019 Carrie completed her honours project looking at the effects of temperature on prey types and size provisioned by Southern Ground-Hornbills (Bucorvus leadbeateri) to the incubating female and nestling. With her interest remaining in environmental science and climate change, Carrie wanted to expand on this study. She has upgraded her MSc to a PhD through the Fitztitute, under the supervision of Dr Rita Covas and Dr Susie Cunningham, on the effects of high temperatures on nestling growth and physiology in Southern Ground-Hornbills. Carrie has been captivated by these intelligent birds and after watching hundreds of hours of camera trap videos on their breeding behaviour, she is excited to learn and try to understand more about them.


Thompson, L.J., Hickman, C.J., Davies, J.P., Fern, F. and Downs, C.T. 2019. A review of the use of birds’ nests by Egyptian geese, including a breeding attempt in a hooded vulture nest. African Zoology, 54:169-173.

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