OFO No: 213109





Other names for Ornithologist:

Animal Physiologist
Animal Scientist
Apicultural Scientist

What is an Ornithologist? 

An Ornithologist studies birds.

Ornithologist can work as:

  • Researchers / Scientists
  • Lecturers
  • Guides

Some Ornithologist study birds in general and others specialise in a particular field.

For example, to name a few:

  • A particular species
  • Reproduction
  • Learning instincts
  • The genetics
  • Migratory patterns etc

What does an Ornithologist do?

  • gathers samples and specimens
  • walks or sits and documents movement or behaviour of the birds over a long period of time
  • counts the birds for population research
  • analyses data
  • attends conferences
  • depending on job – does some laboratory work
  • depending on job – conducts guided birding tours
  • depending on job – prepares lectures

Are you . . . ?

  • passionate about birds?
  • inquisitive?
  • observant?
  • patient?
  • scientifically orientated?
  • responsible?
  • methodical and organised?
  • a person who loves the outdoors?
  • willing to work in all weather conditions?

How do I become an Ornithologist?

Most Ornithologists start their career doing a Bachelor of Science (BSc) at one of our local universities.

Once you have your BSc it is recommended you do an Honours and PhD degrees in, for instance:

  • Ornithology
  • Zoology
  • Genetics etc

It will depend on you and what you want to study. Check your local university for their choices.



Relevant Honours degree in Ornithology

Workplace experience

Registration with the SACNASP: South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions as a Professional Natural Scientist: (Pr.Sci.Nat)


  • CLICK HERE to check for a training institution near you to see what they offer.
  • Make sure you understand their entry requirements for each course.
  • To avoid scams, make sure your institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education. 
  • CLICK HERE to check accredited Private Higher Education Institutions. 

They offer various study opportunities: CLICK HERE

  • List of Ornithological organisations around the world: CLICK HERE


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER:  Herpetologist … or … Entomologist

Is becoming an Ornithologist the right career choice for me?