Course content

The course aims to provide students with a theoretical and systematic knowledge of ornithology as a basis for continued learning about birds. The students will learn about the methods used in ornithological research and thereby obtain the ability to evaluate ornithological studies. Furthermore, they will obtain competences in communicating about scientific ornithological studies. After the course the students will be well qualified to start Master’s Thesis project within ornithology.

Key areas: Bird biology, including identification and taxonomy, functional morphology, ecology, evolution and behavior.


MSc Programme in Biology - restricted elective
MSc Programme in Biology with a minor subject - restricted elective

Learning outcome

Evaluate scientific ornithological papers
Define ornithological questions and devise solutions
Reflect on the solution to ornithological problems and general inference

Describe ornithological methods and apply a selection of these method Analyse ornithological data sets
Identify most Danish bird species

All extant bird orders
Basic aspects of the ecology, evolution, functional morphology and behaviour of birds

Three weekly three-hour teaching blocks, one full day teaching block and two one-day and one two-day weekend field excursion. A teaching block can be a combined one-hour lecture and two-hour colloquias or practical exercises, and lectures and colloquias may be combined. The practical exercises include: Field excursions (capture and marking, counts; potentially bioacustics or collection of tissue samples), identification exercises, preparation of specimens, and operational exercises (calculus), Throughout the course, the students will work on their own ornithological project which will be handed in at the end of the course in the form of a scientific paper.

“See Absalon for a list of course literature. Example of course literature: Graham Scott Essential Ornithology. Oxford University Press.”

Various original research papers


Knowledge of Danish birds on a level corresponding to the bachelor course Danmarks Fauna – hvirveldyr.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 minutes (incl. grading)
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
The group report must be handed in one week before the exam. The oral examination consists of a discussion of a scientific paper and a specimen, both known from the course, and the written report/project. Oral examination without preparation time.

Weight: written assignment 40% and oral exam 60%. Only an overall grade is given.

It is a requirement that the student has participated in writing a group report.
Only certain aids allowed

The written assignment is with all aids allowed

The oral exam is without aids

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.

As the ordinary exam - the same or revised written report can be handed in before the Re-exam.

Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning Outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 11
  • Class Instruction
  • 20
  • Preparation
  • 75
  • Practical exercises
  • 24
  • Excursions
  • 25
  • Project work
  • 50
  • Exam
  • 1
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 3
Max 30 participants
Study Board for the Biological Area
Contracting department
  • Globe
  • The Natural History Museum of Denmark
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Kasper Thorup   (13-72687a776c79357b6f76797c77477a7c756b35727c356b72)

Kasper Thorup, Peter Hosner (SNM) and Anders P. Tøttrup (SNM)

Saved on the 22-03-2023

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