Robin Colyn

MSc Tech, CPUT

Robin completed his Master’s degree at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2017, which focused on optimising camera trap survey design for assessing medium-to-large mammalian species richness and occupancy within the Fynbos Biome. Robin has been working as a conservation scientist at BirdLife South Africa since 2014, where his primary focus has been developing survey methodology and spatial/climatic modelling products for range restricted and threatened species in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.

Robin has led the White-winged Flufftail research project since 2015, which since then has yielded the first reliable, non-invasive and accurate method of surveying this elusive species. Additionally, two fundamental breakthroughs related to facets if its ecology were recorded through the use of this method. In December 2017, the first breeding events for the species in the southern hemisphere were recorded in Mpumalanga, South Africa. Up until this stage, the species was known to exclusively breed in the highlands of Ethiopia and was thought to be a non-breeding migrant to South Africa. Secondly, the study yielded the first undisputed records of its vocalisations since its description over 140 years ago.

In his PhD, supervised by Peter Ryan, Robin is assessing the distribution and population sizes of range restricted larks across an aridity gradient in southern Africa. 

Peer-reviewed Publications

Colyn, R.B., Campbell A. and Smit-Robinson H. 2019. Camera-trapping successfully and non-invasively reveals the presence, activity and habitat choice of the Critically Endangered White-winged Flufftail Sarothrura ayresi in a South African high-altitude wetland. Bird Conservation International, doi:10.1017/S0959270918000400.

Jenkins, A.R., Reid, T., du Plesis, J., Colyn, R.B., Ben, G. and Millikin, R. 2018. Combining radar and direct observation to estimate pelican collision risk at a proposed wind farm on the Cape west coast, South Africa. Plos ONE 13(2): e0192515.

Colyn, R.B., Radloff, F. and O’Riain, J. 2018. Camera trapping mammals in the scrubland’s of the Cape Floristic Kingdom – the importance of effort, spacing and trap placement. Biodiversity Conservation, 27: 503-520.

Colyn, R.B., Campbell, A. and Smit-Robinson, H. 2017. The application of camera trapping to assess Rallidae species richness within palustrine wetland habitat in South Africa. Ostrich:

Campbell, A. and Colyn, R.B. 2017. Insight into the opportunistic feeding habits of Chorister Robin-chat Cossypha dichroa. Biodiversity Observations 8(32): 1-4.

Colyn, R.B. and Smit-Robinson, H. 2016. Fennoscandian-ringed Western Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) recovery, Ingula, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Biodiversity Observations 7(73): 1-5.

Colyn, R.B., du Plesis, J. and Jenkins, A. 2014. First recorded raptor mortality at a South African wind farm. Gabar 24:2.