Professor Tim Birkhead


School of Biosciences

Emeritus Professor
+44 114 222 4622

Full contact details

Professor Tim Birkhead
School of Biosciences
B1 206
Alfred Denny Building
Western Bank
S10 2TN
  • BSc (1972) University of Newcastle; DPhil (1976) University of Oxford
  • Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader in Zoology, University of Sheffield (1976-92)
  • Professor of Behavioural Ecology, University of Sheffield (1992-2019)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society 2004
  • Emeritus Professor of Behavioural Ecology, University of Sheffield (2019 - present)
Research interests

I have three main research areas:

  • Post-copulatory sexual selection, mainly in birds.
  • Population biology of birds.
  • The history of science, and of reproduction and ornithology in particular.

For info on Tim's long term study of guillemots on Skomer Island, click here. If you wish to donate, visit his Just Giving page.

Professional activities and memberships


  • Fellow of the Royal Society (2004).
  • Elliot Coues medal, for outstanding and innovative contributions to ornithological research (2010).
  • ASAB medal (Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour), for outstanding contributions to the study of animal behaviour (2012).
  • Godman-Salvin Medal, for 'distinguished ornithological work' by the British Ornithologists' Union (2016).
  • Founders' Medal of the Society, for the Study of the History of Natural History (SHNH), for contributions to the history and bibliography of natural history (2016).
  • Elected Honorary Member of the German Ornithological Society (2017).

Undergraduate Teaching

  • Senate Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching (2007).
  • Teacher of the Year Award, Animal & Plant Sciences (2009).
  • UK Higher Education Bioscience Teacher of the Year Award (2013).
  • National Teaching Fellowship (2017).

Communicating science to the public

  • Zoological Society of London Silver Medal, for contributions to the understanding and appreciation of zoology, including such activities as public education in natural history (2014).
  • Eisenmann Medal (Linnaean Society of New York), for excellence in ornithology and encouragement of the amateur (2015).
  • Stephen Jay Gould Prize, for increasing public understanding of evolutionary biology (2017).
  • Zoological Society of London’s Clarivate Analytics Award, for Communicating Zoology to a general audience for my book The Most Perfect Thing (2017).