Dr W. Richard J. Dean

MSc (Natal), PhD (Cape Town)

Activities and research interests

Plant-animal interactions, nesting and foraging ecology of birds, effects of land-use on birds, evolution of nomadism.

Richard Dean completed his MSc on ant-plant interactions at the University of Natal. He completed his PhD at the Fitztitute in 1995 on the conservation of nomadic birds in the Karoo. Richard has collected and observed bird nesting behaviour in Angola, Botswana and Zimbabwe. He has worked on the management of protected waterbird areas in the Northwest and Limpopo Provinces and Mpumalanga, and on the Land-use effects on insects and birds in the Karoo and Kalahari. His sabbatical research was on birds and ants in set-aside lands in central Germany. He has also edited a Cambridge University Press synthesis of Karoo ecological research, is the scientific editor of BirdLife South Africa's journal, the Ostrich, and has run a field course in ecology for postgraduates.

Recent peer-reviewed publications


Ribeiro, A.M., Lloyd, P., Dean, W.R.J., Brown, M. & Bowie, R.C.K. 2014. The ecological and geographic context of morphological and genetic divergence in an understorey-dwelling bird. PLoS ONE 9(2): e85903. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0085903.


Dean, W.R.J., Franke, U., Joseph, G. Gonçalves, F.M., Mills, M.S.L., Milton, S.J., Monadjem, A. & Oschadleus, H.D. 2013. Further breeding records for birds (aves) in Angola. Durban Natural Science Museum Novitates (36) 1-10.


Belnap, J., Ludwig, J.A., Bradford, P., Wilcox, J.L., Betancourt, W.,Dean, W.R.J., Hoffmann, B.D. & Milton, S.J. 2012. Introduced and Invasive Species in Novel Rangeland Ecosystems: Friends or Foes? Rangeland Ecology & Management 65:569-578

Dean, W.R.J., Franke, U., Joseph, G., Gonçalves,F.M.. Mills, M.S.L., Milton,S.J., Monadjem, A. & Oschadleus, H.D. in press. Type specimens in the bird collection at Lubango, Angola. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 132:41-45.

Scott, H.A., Dean, W.R.J. & Watson, L.H. 2012. Diet and habitat use by the African Black Oystercatcher Haematopus moquini in De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa. Marine Ornithology 40:1-10.


Mills, M.S. L., Olmos, F., Melo, M. & Dean, W.R.J. 2011. Mount Moco: its importance to the conservation of Swierstra’s Francolin Pternistis swierstrai and the Afromontane avifauna of Angola. Bird Conservation International 21:119-133.

Milton, S.J. & Dean, W.R.J. 2011. Changes in rangeland capital: trends, drivers and consequences. In Zietsman, L. (ed.) Observations on environmental change in South Africa. SUN Press, Stellenbosch. Pp. 74-78.

Scott, H.A., Dean, W.R.J. & Watson, L.H. 2011. Breeding success and changes in numbers of African Black Oystercatchers Haematopus moquini in relation to habitat quality and protection status. Marine Ornithology 39: 189-199.


Child, M.F., Milton, S.J., Dean, W.R.J., Lipsey, M.K., Puttick, J., Hempson, T.N., Mann G.K., Babiker, H., Chaudrey, J., Humphrey, G., Joseph, G., Okes, N.C., Potts, R. & Wistebaar, T. 2010. Tree-grass coexistence in a flood-disturbed, semi-arid savanna system. Landscape Ecology 25:315-326.

Mills, M.S.L., Franke, U. Joseph, G., Miato, F., Milton, S., Monadjem, A., Oschadleus, D. & Dean, W.R.J. 2010. Cataloguing the Lubango Bird Skin Collection: towards an atlas of Angolan bird distributions. Bulletin of the African Bird Club 17:43-53.

Milton, S.J. & Dean, W.R.J. 2010. Plant invasions in arid areas: special problems and solutions: a South African perspective. Biological Invasions 12:3935–3948.

Seymour, C.L. & Dean, W.R.J. 2010 The influence of changes in habitat structure on the species composition of bird assemblages in the southern Kalahari. Austral Ecology 35:581-592

Seymour, C.L., Milton, S.J., Joseph, G.S., Dean, W.R.J., Ditlhobolo, T. & Cumming, G.S. 2010. Twenty years of rest returns grazing potential, but not palatable plant diversity, to Karoo rangeland, South Africa. Journal of Applied Ecology 47:859-867.