in press

Noakes, M.J., Wolf, B.O. and McKechnie, A.E. (in press) Seasonal metabolic acclimatization varies in direction and magnitude among populations of an Afrotropical passerine bird. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology

Cunningham, S.J., Thompson, M. and McKechnie, A.E. (in press) It's cool to be dominant: social status alters short-term risks of heat stress. Journal of Experimetnal Biology


Albright, T.P., Mutiibwa, D., Gerson, A.R., Krabbe Smith, E., Talbot, W.A., O'Neill, J.J., McKechnie, A.E. and Wolf, B.O. 2017. Mapping evaporative water loss in desert passerines reveals an expanding threat of lethal dehydration. PNAS DOI:10.1073/pnas.1613625114


O'Connor, R.S., Wolf, B.O., Brigham, R.M. and McKechnie, A.E. 2016. Avian thermoregulation in the heat: efficient evaporative cooling in two southern African nightjars. J. Comp Physiol B. DOI 10.1007/s00360-016-1047-4

Smit, B., Zietsman, G., Martin, R.O., Cunningham, S.J., McKechnie, A.E., and Hockey, P.A.R. 2016. Can behaviour provide a basis for rapid assessment of relative vulnerability of desert birds to climate change? Climate Change Responses 3(9): DOI 10.1186/s40665-016-0023-2

McKechnie, A.E., Whitfield, M.C., Smit, B., Gerson, A.R., Smith, E.K., Talbot, W.A., McWhorter, T.J. and Wolf, B.O. 2016. Avian thermoregulation in the heat: efficient evaporative cooling allows for extreme heat tolerance in four southern Hemisphere columbids. Journal of Experimental Biology 219: 2145-2155.

van de Ven, T.M.F.N, Martin, R.O., Vink, T.J.F., McKechnie, A.E., & Cunningham, S.J. 2016. Regulation of heat exchange across the hornbill beak: functional similarities with toucans? PLoS ONE doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0154768

McKechnie, A.E., Smit, B., Whitfield, M.C., Noakes, M.J., Talbot, W.A., Garcia, M., Gerson, A.R., & Wolf, B.O. 2016. Avian thermoregulation in the heat: evaporative cooling capacity in an archetypal desert specialist, Burchell's sandgrouse (Pterocles burchelli). Journal of Experimental Biology 219: 2137-2144.

Noakes, M.J., Wolf, B.O. & McKechnie, A. E. 2016. Seasonal and geographical variation in heat tolerance and evaporative cooling capacity in a passerine bird. Journal of Experimental Biology 219: 859-869 doi:10.1242/jeb.132001

Cunningham, S.J.*, Madden, C.*, Barnard, P. & Amar, A. 2016. Electric crows: powerlines, climate change, and the emergence of a native invader. Diversity & Distributions DOI: 10.1111/ddi.12381. *joint first authors


Milne, R.*, Cunningham, S.J.*, Lee, A., & Smit, B. 2015. The role of thermal physiology in recent declines of birds in a biodiversity hotspot. Conservation Physiology 3(1): cov048 doi:10.1093/conphys/cov048.  *joint first authors

McKechnie, A.E., Noakes, M.J. and Smit, B. 2015. Global patterns of seasonal acclimatization in avian resting metabolic rates. Journal of Ornithology:  156 (Suppl 1):S367–S376. DOI 10.1007/s10336-015-1186-5

Cunningham, S.J., Martin, R.O., & Hockey, P.A.R. 2015. Can behaviour buffer the impacts of climate change on an arid-zone bird? Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology 86(1&2): 119-126.

Martin, R.O., Cunningham, S.J., & Hockey, P.A.R. 2015. Elevated temperatures drive fine-scale patterns of habitat use in a savannah bird community. Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology 86(1&2): 127-135.

McKechnie, A.E. 2015. FE Spotlight: Global variation in avian metabolic rates and the slow pace of life of tropical birds [Invited Commentary]. Functional Ecology 29: 297

Smit, B. and McKechnie, A.E. 2015. Water and energy fluxes during summer in an arid-zone passerine bird. Ibis 157(4): 774-786.

Whitfield, M.C., Smit, B., McKechnie, A.E. and Wolf, B.O. 2015. Avian thermoregulation in the heat: scaling of heat tolerance and evaporative cooling capacity in three southern African arid-zone passerines. Journal of Experimental Biology 218: 1705-1714.


Gerson, A.R., Smith, E.K., Smit, B. McKechnie, A.E. and Wolf, B.O. 2014. The impact of humidity on evaporative cooling in small desert birds exposed to high air temperatures. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 87(6): 782-795.

Jacobs, P.J. and McKechnie, A.E. 2014. Experimental sources of variation in avian energetics: estimated basal metabolic rate decreases with successive measurements. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 87(5): 762-769.


Cunningham, S.J., Kruger, A.C., Nxumalo, M.P. & Hockey, P.A.R. 2013.  Identifying biologically meaningful hot-weather events using threshold temperatures that affect life-history. PLoS ONE 8(12): e82492.

Cunningham, S.J., Martin, R.O., Hojem, C.L. & Hockey, P.A.R. 2013. Temperatures in excess of critical thresholds threaten nestling growth and survival in a rapidly-warming arid savanna: a study of common fiscals. PLoS ONE8 (9): e74613

Noakes, M.J., Smit, B., Wolf, B.O. and McKechnie, A.E. 2013. Thermoregulation in African Green-Pigeons (Treron calvus) and a re-analysis of insular effects on basal metabolic rate and heterothermy in columbid birds. Journal of Comparative Physiology B 183(7): 969-982.

Smit, B., Harding, C.T., Hockey, P.A.R. and McKechnie, A.E. 2013. Adaptive thermoregulation during summer in two populations of an arid-zone passerine. Ecology 94(5): 1142-1154.


Du Plessis, K., Martin, R., Hockey, P.A.R., Cunningham, S.J., & Ridley, A. 2012. The costs of keeping cool in a warming world: implications of high temperatures for foraging, thermoregulation and body condition of an arid zone bird. Global Change Biology 18: 3063-3070.

McKechnie, A.E., Hockey, P.A.R. and Wolf, B.O. 2012. Feeling the heat: Australian land birds and climate change [Editorial].  Emu 112: i-vii.


Boyles, J.G., Seebacher, F., Smit, B. and McKechnie, A.E. 2011. Adaptive thermoregulation in endotherms may alter responses to climate change. Integrative and Comparative Biology 51(5): 676-690.

Boyles, J.G., Smit, B. and McKechnie, A.E. 2011. A new comparative metric for estimating heterothermy in endotherms. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 84: 115-123.


McKechnie, A.E. and Wolf, B.O. 2010. Climate change increases the likelihood of catastrophic avian mortality events during extreme heat waves. Biology Letters 6: 253-256.


Articles in the popular literature


McKechnie, A.E. (in press). It’s hot out here – birds prepare their chicks for warm conditions. African Birdlife.

McKechnie, A.E. 2016. Knot the right size. African Birdlife September/October 2016: 11.

McKechnie, A.E. 2016. Burchell’s Sandgrouse: not so chilled? African Birdlife May/June 2016: 15.

Cunningham, S.J. 2016. Body Heat. Wild Magazine, Autumn 2016.

McKechnie, A.E. 2016. Mercury rising - South Africa’s national parks are getting warmer. African Birdlife March/April 2016: 14.

Cunningham, S.J. 2016. Killer Moves –Southern Fiscal. African Birdlife, February 2016.

Noakes, M.J. and McKechnie, A.E. 2015 Hot or not? Physiological variation in white-browed sparrow-weavers. African Birdlife September/October 2015: 12-13.

Cunningham, S.J.  & Amar, A. 2015. How climate change is causing pied crow numbers to soar. The Conversation, 2015. Available:

Cunningham, S.J. 2015. The Hot Birds programme: understanding the risks of climate change for desert birds. Quest 11: 36-38.

McKechnie, A.E. 2015. Melting point – polar bears become nest predators. African Birdlife July/August 2015: 10.

Cunningham, S.J. 2015. Shady dealings. Wild Magazine, Winter 2015.

Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology. 2014. The FitzPatrick Report. Hot birds go global. African Birdlife July/August 2014: 20.

McKechnie, A.E. 2013. Tipping-point temperatures - the science of predicting the future. African Birdlife November/December 2013: 34-39

Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology. 2013. The FitzPatrick Report. Hot and happening: White-browed Sparrow-weavers. African Birdlife September/October 2013: 18.

Whitfield, M.C. and McKechnie, A.E. 2012. Chilling in the Kalahari – Namaqua Doves keep their cool. African Birdlife November/December 2012: 14.

McKechnie, A.E., Hockey, P.A.R. and Wolf, B.O. 2012. The heat is on - climate change threatens arid-zone birds. Australian Birdlife 1(3): 38-41.

McKechnie, A.E. 2011. Rainy days for the Mauritius Kestrel? Africa – Birds and Birding 16(5): 17.

McKechnie, A.E. 2010. World on the boil - heat waves take their toll on birds. Africa – Birds and Birding 15(6): 12-13.