The Fynbos biome of South Africa is a global biodiversity hotspot. Famous mostly for its floral diversity, it is also home to seven endemic bird species. Fynbos is found from the mountains to the coast in the southwestern corner of South Africa, occurring within a Mediterranean climate zone. Climate warming in the Fynbos has been non-uniform to date with inland mountainous areas showing the strongest warming trends.

The Hot Birds project made its first foray into the Fynbos in 2013, with Robyn Milne’s MSc project on thermal physiology of Fynbos birds. Robyn’s findings highlighted the vulnerability of the Cape Rockjumper in particular to climate warming, as well as drawing attention to the complexity of making predictions about vulnerability using physiological data alone.

Current projects in the Fynbos are aimed at improving our knowledge of behavioural and physiological responses to heat of Mediterranean-zone birds, and how these compare to the data coming out of the Kalahari and our other desert field sites. 

Main partners on Fynbos projects are Susie Cunningham (Percy FitzPatrick Institute), Phoebe Barnard (Percy FitzPatrick Institute/SANBI), Alan Lee (Percy FitzPatrick Institute/SANBI) and Ben Smit (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University).

Current projects

Between a rock and a hot place: thermoregulation in Cape Rockjumpers - Krista Oswald

Sex-specific responses to heat stress in Cape Sugarbirds - Jerry Molepo

Completed projects

Role of thermal physiology in recent declines of Fynbos birds - Robyn Milne