Tinyiko Cavin Shivambu


I was fascinated by plants and animals when I was growing up. This led me to enrol for a Bachelor of Science in Botany and Zoology and then a BSc Honours in Zoology. I obtained both of these degrees from the University of Venda. My honours project focussed on identifying the climatic suitability of three newly introduced invasive spider species, Badumna longinqua, Crossopriza lyoni, and Dyctyna civica introduced to South Africa. I then completed an MSc in Zoology at the University of Pretoria which focussed on the risk assessment of tarantula species in the South African pet trade. Currently, I am enrolled for a Ph.D. in Zoology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus.

Current research

My Ph.D. project focuses on the various aspects of ecology including population estimates, breeding and feeding biology of invasive rose-ringed parakeets (Psittacula krameri) known to establish in various parts of South Africa particularly those in Greater Durban Metropolitan areas. This Ph.D. project also has a section focussing on the genetics of these parakeets and the house crow (Corvus splendens) particularly to determine their founder populations, genetic diversity, and disease status. Several diseases are associated with rose-ringed parakeets and it is a vector of many zoonotic diseases.

Rose-ringed parakeets feeding on invasive White Mulberry

Rose-ringed parakeets feeding on invasive White Mulberry Morus alba in Durban North
(©Photograph: Cavin Shivambu).