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Dr Susan Cunningham

PhD (Massey University, NZ)

John Day Building, Rm 2.18
Tel: +27 (0)21 650 3306
Fax: +27 (0)21 650 3295


Susie grew up in New Zealand and obtained her BSc in Ecology & Biodiversity from Victoria University of Wellington. She completed her honours and PhD at Massey University in the Manawatu, working initially on the foraging behaviour of kiwi, and expanding her research into non-visual senses used by probing birds, including kiwi (Apterygidae), ibises (Threskiornithidae) and shorebirds (Scolopacidae). Susie discovered that a unique anatomy and associated vibro-tactile sense thought only to exist in shorebirds has also evolved in kiwi and ibises – suggesting a beautiful case of convergent or parallel evolution. Susie’s PhD was awarded in 2011.

Susie is based in the Percy FitzPatrick Instutute; you can access her main website at