Research interests

  • How does land use affect bird diversity and bird populations?
  • Phylogeny and taxonomy of birds in SE Asia/E Himalayas



Scientific projects

(1) Bird diversity pattern in the Biodiversity Exploratories

Aim is to understand the functional role of birds and their interactions with other groups (e.g., bats, arthropods, plants) and the environment (e.g., temperature, habitat structure). The Working Group on birds is (1) monitoring all birds on the 300 experimental plots to assess changes of bird diversity and species richness in relation to land use and management and (2) assessing if and how parasitation of birds is affected by habitat quality (or reverse, are parasitized birds more often found in less suitable habitat?).  

More details: Biodiversity Exploratory Schwäbische Alb

(2) Avian species richness and origin of the avifauna in the Southeastern sub-Himalayan Mountains (mainly northern Burma/Myanmar) and taxonomy of birds in SE Asia

I am working on the biogeography and taxonomy of birds occurring in the southeastern sub-Himalayan mountains and SE Asia, specifically all taxa recorded for the Putao area in Kachin State (northern Burma or Myanmar). 

In cooperation with the Conservation Ecology Center of the Smithsonian's National Zoo, Washington D.C., I described several new avian taxa and revised taxonomy of other groups for the region.

In addition, I am currently the speaker of the working group Tropical Ornithology (DO-G PG "Tropenornithologie") of the Deutsche Ornithologen-Gesellschaft (, external link)

Selected publications

Renner SC, Baur S, Possler A, Winkler J, Kalko EKV, Bates PJJ, Mello MAR (2012) Food preferences of winter bird communities in different forest types. Plos ONE 7:e53121

Renner SC, Rappole JH. 2011. Avifauna of the Eastern Himalayas and southeastern sub-Himalayan Mountains – Center of endemism or many species in marginal habitats? Ornithological Monographs 70, American Ornithologists' Union, Washington DC. vii + 166 pages.

Fischer M, Bossdorf O, Gockel S, Hänsel F, Hemp A, Hessenmöller D, Korte G, Nieschulze J, Pfeiffer S, Prati D, Renner SC, Schöning I, Schumacher U, Wells K, Buscot F, Kalko EKV, Linsenmair KE, Schulze E-D, Weisser WW. 2010. Implementing large-scale and long-term functional biodiversity research: The Biodiversity Exploratories. Basic and Applied Ecology 11:473-485.

Renner SC. 2009. Spatial post-breeding segregation of 1st-year and adult common bush-tanagers in a Guatemalan Cloud Forest. The Open Ecology Journal 2:47-51.

Renner SC, Rasmussen PC, Rappole JH, Aung T, Aung M. 2009. Discovery of the large blue flycatcher Cyornis [banyumas] magnirostris breeding in northern Kachin State (Burma/Myanmar) and taxonomic implications for the Cyornis-group. J Ornithol 150:671-683

Renner SC, Rappole JH, Rasmussen PC, Aung T, Aung M, Shwe NM, Dumbacher JP, Fleischer RC. 2008. A new subspecies of Tesia olivea (Sylviidae) from the Chiang Mai province, northern Thailand. J Ornithol 149:439-450.

Rappole JH, Rasmussen PC, Thein Aung, Milensky CM, Renner SC. 2008. Observations on a new species: the Naung Mung Scimitar-Babbler Jabouilleia naungmungensis. Ibis 150:623-627.

Renner SC, Rappole JH, Leimgruber P, Kelly DS, Nay Myo Shwe, Thein Aung, Myint Aung. 2007. Land use in the Northern Forest Complex of Myanmar (Burma) – new insights for conservation. Oryx 41(1):27-37.

Rappole JH, Compton BW, Leimgruber P, Robertson J, King DI, Renner SC. 2006. Modeling Movement of West Nile Virus in the Western Hemisphere. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases 6(2):128-139.

Renner SC, Waltert M, Mühlenberg M. 2006. Comparison of bird communities in primary versus young secondary tropical montane cloud forest in Guatemala. Biodiversity and Conservation 15(4):1545-1575.

Renner SC, Voigt M, Markussen M. 2006. Regional deforestation in a tropical montane cloud forest in Alta-Verapaz, Guatemala. Ecotropica 12(1):43-49.

Renner SC. 2005. Biodiversity: there's a role to be played by 'museum-keepers' too. Nature 438(7070):914.

Rappole JH, Renner SC, Nay Myo Shwe, Sweet PR. 2005. A new species of Jabouilleia from the sub-Himalayan region of Myanmar. Auk 122(4):1064-1069.

Public outreach

Renner SC. 2007. Surveying the surveyors (Book review: RE Kohler, 2006, All creatures: naturalists, collectors, and biodiversity, 1850-1950. Princeton University Press, Princeton, Oxford). EMBO Reports 8:21.

Renner SC, Wägele J. 2007. Taxonomie. Interview im Laborjournal 7/8:23-34.


  • Dr. Swen Renner
  • Institute of Experimental Ecology
  • University of Ulm
  • Albert Einstein Allee 11
  • 89069 Ulm, Germany
  • Tel. +49 (0)731 50 22667
  • Fax +49 (0)731 50 22683
  • Office: N24/3, 357