Dr Penelope Olsen

Hon. Prof.
ANU College of Science

Areas of expertise

  • Biogeography And Phylogeography 060302
  • Animal Systematics And Taxonomy 060301
  • Life Histories 060308
  • Plant Systematics And Taxonomy 060310
  • Behavioural Ecology 060201
  • Animal Physiology Systems 060603
  • Population Ecology 060207
  • Performance And Installation Art 190504
  • Conservation And Biodiversity 050202
  • Environmental Impact Assessment 050204
  • Ecology 0602
  • Other Biological Sciences 0699
  • Zoology 0608
  • Visual Arts And Crafts 1905


Dr Penny Olsen is an Honorary Professor in the Division of Ecology and Evolution in the Research School of Biology. After a career as a field biologist and ecological consultant, she has is now mostly occupied writing books about Australian natural history and its recorders, both artistic and scientific. In 2011 she was invested as a Member of the Order of the Australia for her for ‘service to the conservation sciences through the study and documentation of Australian bird species and their history.’ Her recent publishcations include a book about indigenous Australians' contributions to our understanding of Australia's fauna – Australia's First Zoologists – and Flight of the Budgerigar: An Illustrated History. Currently, she is working on a bird book for children and a biography of wildlife artist Humphrey Price-Jones.


Current student projects



Simon Cherriman - Population status and movement ecology of the Wedge-tailed Eagle in Western Australia

Daniel Gautschi Breeding biology and population dynamics of the Norfolk Island green parrot Cyanoramphus cookii

Past student projects

Janet Gardner

Karen Ikin (nee Stagoll)

Carolyn Blackmore: The breeding biology and behaviour of the grey-crowned babbler ( Pomatostomus temporalis )

Debbie Saunders: Swift Parrot winter habitat identification

Stuart Cooney: The breeding ecology of the hooded parrot ( Psephotus dissimilis )

Robert Gosford: Ethno-biological source material for avian population histories: an assessment of material relevant to the avian populations of three central Australian Bioregions

Andrew Burton: Burton, A.M. 1991. Resource partitioning between two sympatric goshawks in the Australian wet tropics. PhD thesis, James Cook University

Mark Boulet: Boulet, M. 1997. Parental resource allocation to offspring in the Peregrine Falcon. Honours thesis, ANU

Janet Gardner: Gardner, J.L. 2002. Social behaviour and breeding biology of the Speckled Warbler. PhD thesis, ANU

Tom Aumann: Aumann, T. 1999. Riparian raptor assemblages in the Australian arid zone. PhD thesis, ANU

Paul McDonald: McDonald, P. 2003. Reproductive success, dimorphism and sex allocation in the Brown Falcon Falco berigora. PhD thesis, ANU

Jill Shephard: Shephard, J.M. 2003. A multi-scale approach to defining historical and contemporary factors responsible for the current distribution of te White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster ( Gmelin, 1788) I Australia. PhD thesis, Griffith University



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Updated:  05 December 2023 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers