Dr Penelope Olsen

Hon. Prof.
ANU College of Science

Areas of expertise

  • Life Histories 060308
  • Conservation And Biodiversity 050202
  • Behavioural Ecology 060201
  • Ecology 0602
  • Environmental Impact Assessment 050204
  • 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 most recent publications include a book about indigenous Australians' contributions to our understanding of Australian fauna, Australia's First Zoologists, Flight of the Budgerigar: An Illustrated History and Feather and Brush: A History of Australian Bird Art.


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


Karen Ikin (nee Stagoll) investigated the impact of urban spread on woodland birds, and recommends management strategies to guide future urban planning.

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:  13 June 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers