Researchers probe colonialism’s legacy in bird studies

A recent paper says Latin American and Caribbean scientists are excluded

Latin America and the Caribbean host more bird species than anywhere else on earth. But researchers from the region are often excluded from science, according to a recent paper published in Ornithological Applications. Signed by 124 ornithologists from 19 countries, the paper reviews ways in which they are excluded and explores avenues for addressing the issue.  

“Colonialism still has profound impacts in our society, whether people feel comfortable with that or not,” said Letícia Soares of Saint Louis University, one of the lead authors. “We (researchers in the Neotropics) often enforce the colonialist perspectives. Field biology has such a strong enforced stereotype of having been pioneered by white European males. Disrupting this narrative should be a commitment of everyone in the field. Then we can walk toward acknowledgment, justice and reconciliation, both in ornithology and other field sciences.”

Read more at, and read the paper here.


Header Image: Seabirds gather on Isla Espíritu Santo on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. Credit: David Frey/TWS