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The Biology of Birds: Communication and Reproduction (Online)

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

Immerse yourself in the wonderful diversity of bird life. Study how birds have evolved the ability to sing intricate and beautiful songs in order to protect their territories and attract mates.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

Students will need to be able to confidentially use videoconferencing software be comfortable with using websites.

Special Information

In order to participate in this course, you will need access to a computer with a speaker and an internet connection.

Content of Course

1. Bird song.

Listen to the remarkable variety of bird song, the sound of the dawn chorus and learn what we understand about its meaning and function.

2. Mating systems.

Learn about the diversity of mating systems, how birds choose mates and the evolutionary context.

3. Breeding biology.

Delve into the different reproductive strategies that birds have adopted and understand why some bird species provide no parental care, while others require both parents to care for their offspring until they are ready to fly off alone.

Teaching method(s)

This course will be delivered online.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Explain why songbirds sing loudly and frequently as the sun rises;

  • Recognise the diversity of mating systems in birds and describe how birds choose mates;

  • Explain why different birds have different ways of raising young.


Core Readings


  • Lovette, I. and Fitzpatrick, J., eds. 2016. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology Handbook of Bird Biology. West Sussex: John Wiley and Sons

Copies of the above text will be available in the classroom


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.