University Centre Sparsholt is delighted to announce the publication of research from MSc Applied Zoo Biology student, Megan Williams and Zoo Biology and Applied Animal Science Lecturers, James Brereton and Dr Marianne Freeman 

The research follows Megan’s BSc dissertation topic on the nocturnal behaviour of Tawny Frogmouths in captivity. Native to Australia and Tasmania, this insectivorous bird species nocturnal lifestyle can make them a challenging species to carry out behavioural research on in the wild.  

However, using nocturnal cameras on groups of the bird held at collections across the UK, Megan and James were able to observe similar behaviours of the captive birds to wild populations such as head bobbing, flight, and feeding. This is despite routine changes such as food routines and visitor presence that may alter their behaviours to make them diurnal. 

Nocturnal research in zoos is a developing field of study, and this research leads the way for further projects to take place to help collections across the country engage more visitors with animals that are more active at night than during opening hours. 

The research has been published to the Journal of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, and can be viewed here. 

Megan graduated from University Centre Sparsholt in 2020, completing her BSC (Hons) Applied Animal Science undergraduate degree, and returned to our countryside campus to attain her Postgraduate Master’s degree.  

University Centre Sparsholt is a leader in land-based and environment studies. Renowned for its reputation in the zoological industry for training the experts of tomorrow, the Sparsholt Campus is also home to over 1200 animals across 200 different species at its BIAZA Licensed Animal Management Centre onsite.  

Find out more about our latest research and TEF Gold Standard degree courses here.