Study Ornithology
Learn the many aspects of bird biology and evolution.  This course covers the many adaptations of birds which have allowed them to colonize the air, sea and land so well. The course is designed for those working or hoping to work with birds, such as scientists, wildlife carers, bird watchers, conservationists and wildlife researchers.

This course aims to introduce students to the various bird species along with their physiology and the habitats they occupy.
Get Serious about Birds
A course for people who keep birds as pets; amateur bird watchers and naturalists; breeders, or anyone who works with birds from zoo keepers and wildlife conservation officers to pet service suppliers and environmental assessors.

Birds are an integral part of our environment. They can be pests that need to be controlled; and pest controllers that need protection. Birds are kept as pets by many people around the world, trained to hunt or race, and observed simply for the joy of watching them. 

ACS student comment: I initially wanted to do the course because I really enjoy bird watching and I wanted to learn more about birds than just how to identify them. Also, I was set to start university in September, and as I was no longer studying biology, I wanted to take the opportunity to so do some final studying in that area.
This course has been brilliant: not only did I learn about the biology and distribution of birds, but I also learned about taxonomy (not nearly as boring as it sounds!), and I now know the behaviours and characteristics of a range of bird species worldwide.
I've enjoyed the course so much that, after much deliberation, I decided to go on to do further study. After a word with the university admissions tutor I successfully switched degree courses, so I am now set to study Ecology and Conservation.
I owe this course so much, not just for teaching me about birds, but also for making me realise how enjoyable it is to study them. Mari Jones, UK - Ornithology course.


Lesson 1: Classification and Introduction to Bird Watching - nature and scope of ornithology, bird classification, common names and scientific names, fossils of extinct birds, classes of birds, comparing characteristics of the bird orders, bird watching equipment.

Lesson 2: The Biology of Birds - anatomical features, internal structure, respiration, excretion, digestion, circulation, senses, behaviour, eggs and hatching, feeding, vocalisation, migration and habitats.

Lesson 3: Common and Widespread Land Birds - Eagles and their relatives, Osprey, Hawks, Secretary Bird, Falcons, Crows and their Relatives, Butcher Birds, Currawongs, Pigeons, Doves, the Dodo, Cuckoos, Pest and Introduced Birds.

Lesson 4: Giant Birds and Long Legged Birds - The Ratites (eg. Ostrich, Emu, Cassowary and Kiwi), Herons, Storks and their relatives.

Lesson 5: Sea Birds and Water Birds - Ducks, Geese and Swans, Cranes and Rails, Sandpipers, Curlews, Plovers and Dotterels, Divers, Gulls, Skuas and Terns, Tube Nosed Birds, Albatrosses, Petrels, Pelicans and their Relatives, Gannets, Cormorants, Boobies, Frigate Birds and Penguins.

Lesson 6: Hunters - Birds of Prey - Owls, Raptors, Eagles, Hawks, Kites, Osprey, Falcons, Kingfishers, Breeding behaviors of Birds of Prey.

Lesson 7: Passeriformes - Songbirds and Perching birds, common features, varieties, thrush, robins, flycatchers, larks, swallows and martins, finches, physical characteristics, breeding and nesting.

Lesson 8: Other Birds - Parrots - feeding, structure, breeding and species, Honeyeaters, Swifts, Galliformes, and Orders.

Lesson 9: Attracting, Feeding and Keeping Birds - how plants benefit birds, plants that attract birds, feeding birds, bird care and common ailments.

  • Discuss the study of birds, including bird taxonomy
  • Describe anatomical and physical characteristics
  • Discuss a range of different common and widespread land birds
  • Discuss a range of different flightless and long legged birds including Ratites and Ciconiiformes
  • Discuss and describe a range of water birds and sea birds
  • Discuss and describe a range of hunting birds
  • Discuss and describe a range of Passeriformes
  • Discuss and describe a range of parrots and other birds.
  • Explain domestication of birds and the methodology and implications of attracting and feeding wild birds.


  • Plan your study program. Allocate certain times for study and stick to these.
  • Use Active Reading Techniques - keep in mind what the purpose of reading is.
  • Find a quiet place to study - allocate a room away from the busy areas of the house for study.
  • Make the most of the set tasks – these are a great way to apply what you have learnt in a practical way.