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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Special Offer Ornithology Distance Learning Course

Learn about the classification and biology of birds and much more

  • Learn what is a bird, the classes and orders of bird families.
  • Learn about their evolution - how they have adapted and how developed enabling them to colonise air, land and water so successfully.
  • This course is designed for people working or wishing to work with birds and animals, life scientists and environmental researchers and consultants, amateur bird watchers, or anyone working with birds.

The aim of this course is to introduce the student to the many interesting and diverse bird species, and their physiology and habitats. You will learn a wide variety of bird facts, through a combination of tools such as reading, interacting with tutors, undertaking research and practical tasks, and observing birds.

Explore a passion, discover a hobby, lay the foundation for a career or expand your employment opportunities.  Whatever your reason for studying birds, this course is flexible in many ways, providing individualised guidance and feedback from highly qualified and experienced experts.

Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

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Study Ornithology - Online Course currently available at a special offer price.

Distance Learning Course - Start at any time to suit you.

Course Structure and Lesson Content

The course comprises 9 lessons as detailed, below.

1.  Classification and Introduction to Bird watching
  • Nature and scope of ornithology (over 9,000 species).
  • Place of Birds in Nature.
  • Bird Classification (Aves, Ratitae, Carinate).
  • Use of common names and scientific names.
  • Fossil or Extinct Birds.
  • Classes and Sub Classes.
  • Comparing characteristics of different Super orders.
  • Comparing characteristics of all major bird Families.
  • Resources for further information.
  • Bird Watching equipment. 
2.  The Biology of Birds
  • Anatomical features.
  • Skeleton.
  • Feathers.
  • Feather Colour.
  • Wings.
  • Wing Types (elliptical, high speed, long soaring, high lift).
  • Legs and Feet.
  • Beaks and Bills.
  • Internal Structure.
  • Respiration.
  • Excretion.
  • Digestion.
  • Circulation.
  • Senses.
  • Avian Behaviours  (Flight, Diving, Reproduction, Courtship, Bonding, Territoriality, Nesting).
  • Formation of Eggs and Hatching.
  • Feeding.
  • Vocalisations.
  • Migration.
  • Habitats.
3.  Common and Widespread Land Birds
  • Eagles and Relatives - Carthatidae (New Worldvultures, condors).
  • Pandionidae (osprey).
  • Accipitridae (hawks, eagles, kites).
  • Sagittariidae (secretary bird) .
  • Falconidae (falcons, caracaras).
  • Crows and their Relatives.
  • Butcher birds, Currawongs and related birds.
  • Pigeons (structure, feeding, breeding, types).
  • Doves.
  • The Dodo.
  • Cuckoos.
  • Pestand Introduced Birds (for many countries) - Indian Mynah, Sparrow, Thrush, Starling, etc.
4.  Giant Birds and Long Legged Birds
  • Ratitites - Ostrich, Emu, Moa, Rhea, Cassowary, Kiwi, South American Tinamous, extinct giant Elephant bird and  Dodo.
  • Herons, Storks and relatives.
5.  Seabirds and Water birds
  • Anseriformes - ducks, geese, swans etc.
  • Gruiformes - cranes, coots, mud hens, rails.
  • Charadriiformes - sandpipers, snipes, curlews, plovers, dotterels, etc.
  • Gaviiformes - divers.
  • Gulls, Skuas, Auks, Puffins, Terns.
  • Tube Nosed Birds.
  • Albatrosses.
  • Petrels, Storm Petrels and Diving Petrels.
  • Pelicans and Relatives.
  • Gannets.
  • Cormorants.
  • Boobies, Frigate Birds, Tropic Birds.
  • Penguins.
6.  Hunters - Birds of Prey, Owls, and Kingfishers
  • Eagles.
  • Eagle species.
  • Hawks.
  • Kites.
  • Osprey.
  • Falcons.
  • Vultures.
  • Owls.
  • Breeding behaviours of birds of prey.
  • Kingfishers.
7.  Passeriformes
  • Scope of "songbirds" or "perching birds".
  • Features common to Passeriformes.
  • Varieties of Passeriformes (Primitive and Advanced).
  • Muscicapidae - thrush.
  • Robins.
  • Flycatchers,  Larks, Pippits, Wingtails.
  • Swallows and Martins; physical characteristics, breeding and nesting.
  • Fringilllidae - finches.
8.  Other Birds
  • Parrots - structure, feeding, breeding, species.
  • Honeyeaters, Swifts.
  • Galliformes - chicken.
  • Other Orders.
9.  Attracting, Feeding and Keeping Birds
  • How plants benefit birds.
  • Plants that attract birds.
  • Feeding Birds.
  • Bird Care - parasites, catching and handling, caring for a sick bird.
  • Common Ailments.

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to introduce the student to the many interesting and diverse bird species, and their physiology and habitats. You will learn a wide variety of things, through a combination of things such as reading, interacting with tutors, undertaking research and practical tasks, including observing birds.

The course aims include:

  • Discuss the study of birds, including bird taxonomy.
  • Describe anatomical and physical characteristics of birds.
  • Describe anatomical and physical characteristics of birds.
  • Discuss a range of different common and widespread land birds.
  • Discuss a range of different flightless and long legged birds including Ratites and Ciconiiformes.
  • Discuss and describe a range of water birds and sea birds.
  • Discuss and describe a range of hunting birds.
  • Discuss and describe a range of Passeriformes.
  • Discuss and describe a range of parrots and other birds.
  • Explain domestication of birds and the methodology and implications of attracting and feeding wild birds.

What You May Do In This Course

  • Connect with a Bird watching Club or organisation in your own country, or region of the world, and find out what services and information they offer. You may locate groups on the internet, listed under clubs and organisations in the Yellow Pages, and so on. You could contact them on the phone, or by email, by letter; or by attending a meeting.
  • Write a history of the evolution of birds, include mention of species that have become extinct and reasons as to why you think this occurred.
  • Discuss the breeding cycle of one particular bird species (of your own choosing). Identify any traits or behavioural patterns that are unique to this species.
  • Select 6 different birds from groups studied in this lesson, and research each different bird using any resources you have available to you, such as textbooks, the internet, libraries, etc.  Write a paragraph describing each of the six birds you selected, giving a detailed description of their external appearance, together with details of their distribution, structure, feeding habits and breeding. If possible, focus on any birds from each group that inhabit or regularly migrate to your region.

Enrol Today!

You can enrol today at a specially reduced price - the course is available to start at any time to suit you.

Study with the support and guidance of our expert Environmental tutors - if you have any questions about the course, please get in touch with them today.

Meet some of our academics

Bob James (Environmental)Bob has a unique set of qualifications and experience having worked in applied biological and environmental sciences for more than 50 years. He holds a string of tertiary qualifications in animal, plant and environmental sciences; including a Masters Degree in Environmental Science. He has worked as a tutor with ACS since 1995. Bob has worked as a teacher, research scientist and consultant for both government and private enterprise undertaking jobs ranging from environmental surveys to waste disposal.
Alison Pearce (animal)B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Masters Degree in Ecotourism. P.G.Cert. Ed. (Science). Alison's first job was in 1982 as a stockwoman, working with pigs in Yorkshire. Within a few years she of that she was working for the University of Western Australia as a Research Technician and instructor with their school of Agricultural Science.In 1989 she moved to Melbourne University as Unit Manager and Instructor in Animal Husbandry. By the mid 1990's she moved back to England to work in Animal Care and Veterinary Nursing at Cambridgeshire College of Agriculture. Throughout her career, Alison has developed and delivered courses in veterinary nursing and animal sciences for vocational colleges and universities in Australia, New Zealand and Australia. She has built a high level of expertise and an outstanding international reputation as an expert in animal sciences.
Dr. Gareth PearceGraduated from the University of Nottingham in 1982 with a B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Between 82 and 85 worked as Research Assistant and Demonstator in Animal Science at the University of Leeds. Over more than 30 years he has furthered his studies, obtaining eight significant university qualifications including degrees in Veterinary Science, Wildlife Conservation and Animal Behaviour. Gareth has significant teaching experience around the world as a faculty member at eight different universities including Associate Professor at Murdoch University and Director of Studies in Veterinary Science at Cambridge University. He has over 100 prestigious research papers published, and enjoys an outstanding international reputation in the fields of animal and veterinary science.
Cheryl McLardyA scientist, teacher, writer and animal scientist, with more than 20 years experience including: Sports Horse Stud Groom, Stable Manager, Yard Manager, Equine industrial Training Manager, FE Distance Learning Manager. Cheryl has travelled widely, working in England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand; and is now based in Scotland. She holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons), Higher National Diploma in Horse Management, and a City and Guilds Teaching Certificate.

Check out our eBooks

BirdsIdeal for Ornithology students or the budding bird enthusiast, this ebook offers an ideal foundation on birds. Learn to identify birds from around the world with over 130 colour photographs and 117 pages of fascinating bird facts.
Working with AnimalsIf you enjoy interacting with animals, are interested in biological science, or are passionate about wildlife, pets or farming; you may thrive in the type of jobs outlined in this book. Get to know more about the industries and the occupations that you could do. The Working with Animals ebook is a comprehensive catalogue to inspire you in your career in working with animals!
Marine AnimalsWith colour photos splashed throughout, this Marine Animals e-book is designed to provide a guide for some of the more common animals found in marine ecosystems around the world. Learn about the creatures hidden by the other 70% of the earth's surface. Explore more...
Animal HealthUnderstand animal health issues, diseases and how identify and manage illnesses and injuries. Animals can become sick for many different reasons -diseases caused by infections, injuries, poisoning, genetic disorders, poor nutrition and other things.