Skip to content

Science

Ornithologist

Ornithologists study the behaviour, ecology, classification and conservation of birds and their habitats.

Annual Salary

£18,000 to £35,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

38 to 40 variable

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; away from home

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Ornithologist jobs in 2025.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • conducting surveys
  • monitoring bird species
  • tracking bird movements
  • collecting, analysing and evaluating data
  • preparing reports, management plans and presentations

Working environment

You could work in the countryside.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers and you'll travel often.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
University

Most ornithologists have a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in a relevant subject like:

  • biology
  • ecology
  • environmental science
  • zoology

You may need a postgraduate qualification for some jobs.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • at least 1 A level, or equivalent, for a foundation degree
  • between 1 and 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national diploma or degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information
Volunteering and work experience

Relevant experience is increasingly important, and you may be able to get this by becoming a volunteer or seasonal warden with organisations like the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the British Trust for Ornithology.

More information

Career tips

You'll need a British Trust for Ornithology ringing permit and experience as a birdwatcher to become a bird warden.

Professional and industry bodies

You can register with the British Ornithologists' Union, which has study resources for students and professionals, and information about help with course funding.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming an ornithologist from the British Ornithologists' Union.

With experience you might become a supervisor.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of biology
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • science skills
  • maths knowledge
  • the ability to read English
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent written communication skills
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
My top 5 skills
Please sign in to compare your skills to this job. Sign in

To save or view your choices and results you must sign in or register (takes 1 minute).

Sign in Register