D.L. Serventy Medal

Nominations close 1 November each year

About the D.L. Serventy Medal

The D.L. Serventy Medal is awarded for outstanding published work on birds in the Australasian region. It has been awarded since 1991 and is the highest award offered to professional ornithologists by BirdLife Australia.

The medal is given in honour of Dom Serventy (1904–1988), one of the most influential ornithologists in Australasia in the 20th century.

Interested in all aspects of ornithology, from biogeography and speciation to breeding seasons and general biology, he had a profound and long-term influence on conservation in the region. For instance, the ground-breaking population study of Short-tailed Shearwaters he established on islands in Bass Strait continues to this day, and many other aspects of his ornithological leadership endure in modern ornithology.

He was President of the RAOU from 1947–1949, and awarded fellowship in 1952. He won the Australian Natural History Medallion in 1956, was a member of the Western Australian Wildlife Authority 1943–74, editor of Western Australian Naturalist 1947–80, member of the Permanent Executive Committee of the International Ornithological Congress 1966–78, and fellow of the Western Australian Museum from 1974.

He was a lecturer in zoology at the University of Western Australia from 1934–37, a research officer at the CSIRO Fisheries Division from 1937–51 and officer-in-charge at CSIRO Wildlife Survey Division, Perth, from 1951–1969.

With his brother Vincent and sister Lucy, he revived the Western Australian Naturalists’ Club after World War II. He also produced extensive sets of bird distribution maps and wrote The Handbook of Australian Seabirds (1971) with Vincent Serventy and John Warham, and Birds of Western Australia (five editions between 1948 and 1976) with H.M. Whittell.

Indeed, so many aspects of modern Australasian ornithology have been influenced by his insightful, diligent and enthusiastic work.

How to apply

Please download and complete the D.L. Serventy Medal Nomination Form provided below. Once you have finished, please attach it to the submission form  located at the bottom of this page.

Nominations are to be submitted to the Chair of the Research & Conservation Committee Scientific Awards Sub-Committee by no later than 1 November.

Nominations should include a written statement (of no more than 500 words) outlining the scientific contributions that the nominee has made to Australasian ornithology, supported by a curriculum vitae, a list of all publications/contributions, and the names of at least three referees.

serventy-medal-nomination-form (DOCX - 66 KB)

D.L. Serventy Medal Nomination Form

Selection criteria

The D.L. Serventy Medal is awarded to members judged to have made outstanding contribution to scientific publications in the field of ornithology in the Australasian Region (the Region includes Australasia as defined by the Wallace Line, the South Pacific and Antarctica, including Australian and New Zealand subantarctic islands). This is taken to include publishing, editing, reviewing, promoting and assisting publication.

Only publications within the Australasian Region are considered under this Award. The nominee need not reside within the Region.

This Award is available only to living, past or present members of BirdLife Australia (or living, past members of BOCA or Birds Australia), who must be proposed and seconded by three other members. It is possible for two people who have worked closely together to be awarded the medal simultaneously.

Past recipients

2023: Professor Robert Heinsohn
2022: Dr Eric Woehler
2021: Professor Andrew F. Bennett
2020: Professor Ralph Mac Nally
2019: Professor Naomi Langmore
2018: Dr Leo G. Joseph
2017: Professor Sarah M. Legge
2016: Professor Sonia M. Kleindorfer
2015: Dr Stephen J.S. Debus
2014: Dr Richard H. Loyn
2013: Emeritus Professor Ron D. Wooller
2012: Professor Richard Kingsford
2011: Associate Professor David C. Paton
2010: Professor David Lindenmayer
2009: Emeritus Professor Carla P. Catterall
2008: Professor Stephen T. Garnett and Dr Gabriel Crowley
2007: Professor Michael Clarke
2006: Dr Denis A. Saunders
2005: Drs Lesley and Michael Brooker
2004: Emeritus Professor Andrew Cockburn
2003: Associate Professor Trevor Worthy and Adjunct Professor Richard N. Holdaway
2002: –
2001: Professor John C.Z. Woinarski
2000: –
1999: Professor Jiro Kikkawa
1998: Associate Professor Richard Zann
1997: Dr Penny D. Olsen
1996: Drs Cliff B. and Dawn W. Frith
1995: Professor J. Allen Keast
1994: Emeritus Professor Harry F. Recher
1993: Professor Hugh A. Ford
1992: Dr John Warham
1991: Dr Ian C.R. Rowley

BirdLife Australia D.L. Serventy Medal Submission

Please attach your D.L. Serventy Medal Nomination Form here. Nominations are to be submitted no later than 1 November. Nominations should include a written statement (of no more than 500 words), outlining the scientific contributions that the nominee has made to Australasian ornithology, supported by a curriculum vitae, list of all publications and the names of at least three referees.

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