Mark Robbins

Mark Robbins
  • Emeritus Collection Manager - Ornithology

Contact Info

Dyche Hall
1345 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045


Mark is an evolutionary biologist with special interest in birds.  He was a collection manager of two major ornithological collections over the past 41 years. The initial eleven years were at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and since 1993, he has been at the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute. 


In concert with the inventory work, Mark's research interests have focused on biological inventory and the conservation of that diversity, alpha systematics, phylogeny, and documentation of the spread of avian borne diseases. Along with several colleagues, he is currently involved in elucidating relationships within the Sedge Wrens (Cistothorus platensis), pygmy-owls (Glaucidium), woodpeckers (especially Picumnus and Celeus), and gnatcatchers (Polioptila). His involvement in conservation has resulted in documenting the decline of the tallgrass prairie avifauna as a result of adverse agricultural practices.

Selected Publications


Robbins, M.B. 2020.  The Status and Distribution of Birds in Missouri. 2nd edition. KU Scholar Works. University of Kansas Libraries. http:/

Journal Articles (peer reviewed)

Alexander, A., M.B. Robbins, J. Holmes, R.G. Moyle, A.T. Peterson. 2022. Limited movement of an avian hybrid zone in relation to regional variation in magnitude of climate change. Molecular Ecology DOI: 10.1111/mec.16727

Robbins, M.B. and I.N. Rush. 2021. The status of the migratory Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus subarcticus) in Kansas and Missouri, with comments on the breeding distribution of subspecies in the Great Plains. Kansas Ornithological Society Bull. 72:33-37.

Robbins, M.B. 2021. The status of the Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) in the northern Glaciated Plains of Missouri. Bluebird 88:110-112.

King, J.C., M.B. Robbins and M.A. Young. 2021. Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) call types in Kansas during the past decade (2010-2020), with comments on identification of historical specimens. Kansas Ornithological Society Bull.71:41-52.

Isler, M.L., R.T. Chesser, M.B. Robbins, A.M. Cuervo, C.D. Cadena, and P.A. Hosner. 2020. Taxonomic evaluation of the Grallaria rufula (Rufous Antpitta) complex (Aves: Passeriformes: Grallariidae) distinguishes sixteen species. Zootaxa DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4817.1.1

Krabbe, N.K., T.S. Schulenberg, P.A. Hosner, K.V. Rosenberg, T.J. Davis, G.H. Rosenberg, D.F. Lane, M.J. Andersen, M.B. Robbins, C.D. Cadena, T. Valqui, J.F. Salter, A.J. Spencer, F. Angulo, and J. Fjeldsa. 2020. Untangling cryptic diversity in the High Andes: revision of the Scytalopus [magellanicus] complex (Rhinocryptidae) in Peru reveals three new species. Ornithological Advances 137:1-16.

Salter, J.F., C.H. Oliveros, P.A. Hosner, J.D. Manthey, M.B. Robbins, R.G. Moyle, R.T. Brumfield, B.C. Faircloth. 2020. Extensive paraphyly in the typical owl family (Strigidae). Ornithological Advances 137:1-15.

Hruska, J.P., J.C. Cooper, M.B. Robbins. 2020. First record of Mexican Whip-poor-will Antrostomus arizonae in Nicaragua. Cotinga 42:56-57.

Smith, B.T., R.W. Bryson, Jr., W.M. Mauck, III, J. Chaves, M.B. Robbins, A. Aleixo, and J. Klicka. 2018. Species delimitation and biogeography of the gnatcatchers and gnatwrens (Aves: Polioptilidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 126:45-57.

de Silva, T.N., S.W. Fernando, M.B. Robbins. J.C. Cooper, E.B. Fokam and A.T. Peterson. 2018. Recognition of a new generic-level swallow taxon from central Africa. Jour. Avian Biology Doi:10.1111/jav.01698.

Le Manh Hung, M.B. Robbins, L. Van Dung. 2016. First records of Green Shrike Babbler Pteruthius xanthochlorus and Moustached Laughingthrush Ianthocincla Cineracea from Vietnam. BirdingAsia 26:132-133.

Robbins, M.B. 2016.  Historical first breeding records in Missouri of Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) Bluebird 83:158-9.

Milensky, C.M., M.B. Robbins, J.R. Saucier, B.J. O’Shea, A. Radosavljevic, T.J. Davis, and M. Pierre. 2016. Notes on breeding birds from the Guyana highlands with new records from A recent inventory of Mount Ayanganna. Cotinga 38:64-78.

Manthey, J.D. and M.B. Robbins. 2016. Genomic insights into hybridization in a localized region of sympatry between pewee sister species (Contopus sordidulus x C. virens) and their chromosomal patterns of differentiation. Avian Research 7:6.

Manthey, J.D., M.B. Robbins, and R.G. Moyle. 2016. A genomic investigation of the putative contact zone between divergent Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) lineages: chromosomal patterns of genetic differentiation. Genome 59:1-11.

Le Manh Hung, M.B. Robbins, N.H. Rice, D. Roldán Piña. 2015. Survey of the avifauna of the Van Ban Nature Reserve, Lao Cai province,Vietnam. Forktail 31:103-106.

Hosner, P.A., L. Cueto-Aparicio, G. Ferro-Meza, D. Miranda, and M. B. Robbins. 2015. Vocal and molecular phylogenetic evidence for recognition of a thistletail species (Furnariidae: Asthenes) endemic to the Elfin Forests of Ayacucho, Peru. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 127:724–765.

Hosner, P.A., M.J. Andersen, M.B. Robbins, A. Urbay-Tello, L. Cueto-Aparicio, K. Verde-Guerra, L.A. Sanchez-Gonzalez, A. G. Navarro-Siguenza, R.L. Boyd, J. Nunez, J. Tiravanti, M. Combe, H.L. Owens, and A.T. Peterson. 2015. Avifaunal surveys of the upper Apurimac River valley, Ayacucho and Cuzco departments, Peru: new distributional records and biogeographic,  Taxonomic, and conservation implications. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 127:563-581.

Dantas, S.M., J.D. Weckstein, J. Bates, N.K. Krabbe, C.D. Cadena, M.B. Robbins, E. Valderrama, and A. Aleixo. 2015. Molecular systematics of the new world screech-owls (megascops: aves, Strigidae): Biogeographic and taxonomic implications. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 94:626-634.

Robbins, M.B. 2015. Intra-summer movement and probable dual breeding sites of the eastern Marsh Wren (Cistothorus p. palustris); a Cistothorus ancestral trait? Wilson Journal of Ornithology 127:494-498.

Robbins, M.B. 2014. Contact zone of the Eastern and Western Marsh Wrens revisited. Nebraska Bird Review 28:128-130.

Robbins, M.B. and A.S. Nyari. 2014. Canada to Tierra del Fuego: species limits and historical biogeography of the Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis). Wilson Jour. Of Ornithology 126:649-662.

Le Manh Hung, M.B. Robbins, S. Delonglée. 2014. The first Vietnam records of Slaty-backed Flycatcher Ficedula hodgsonii and Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos. BirdingAsia 21:112-113.

Robbins, M.B. and C. Otte. 2013. An irruptive movement of Snowy Owls (Bubo scandiacus) into Kansas and Missouri during the winter of 2011-2012. Kansas Ornithological Society 64:41-44.

Robbins, M.B., T.S. Schulenberg, D.F. Lane, A.M. Cuervo, L.C. Binford, A.S. Nyári, M. Combe, E. Arbeláez-Cortés, W. Wehtje, and A. Lira-Noriega. 2013. Abra Maruncunca, dpt. Puno, Peru, revisited: vegetation cover and avifauna changes over a 30 year period. Bull. Brit. Ornith. Club 133:13-51.

Thompson, F.R., III, M.B. Robbins, and J.A. Fitzgerald. 2012. Landscape-level forest cover is a predictor of Cerulean Warbler abundance. Wilson Jour. Ornith. 124:721-727.

Le Manh Hung, M.B. Robbins, N.H. Rice, D. Roldán Piña. 2012. Survey of the avifauna at Muong Nhe Nature Reserve, Dien Bien province,Vietnam. Forktail 28:101-106.

Robbins, M.B., D. Geale, B. Walker, T.J. Davis, M. Combe, M.D. Eaton, K. P. Kennedy. 2011. Foothill avifauna of the upper Urubamba Valley, dpto. Cusco, Peru. Cotinga 33:34-45.

Benz, B.W. and M.B. Robbins. 2011. Molecular phylogenetics, vocalizations and species limits in Celeus woodpeckers (Aves: Picidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 56:29-44.

Le Manh Hung, M.B. Robbins, N.H. Rice, E. A. Garcia-Trejo, S.M. Roels, and S.A. Bodbyl-Roels. 2011. Preliminary survey of the avifauna at Dong Nai Culture and Nature Reserves, Dong Nai province,Vietnam. Forktail 27:114-117. 

Robbins, M.B., P. McKenzie, B. Jacobs. 2010. A review of Mottled Duck (Anas fulvigula) reports in the North American interior, with comments on historical records of dark Anas ducks. North American Birds 64:518-522.

Robbins, M.B. 2010. First nesting of the Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) away from the lower Mississippi River in Missouri. Bluebird 77:143-144.

Robbins, M.B., B.W. Benz, Á. Nyári, and M. Papeş.  2010. Survey of riparian bird species along the Buffalo National River, Arkansas May/June 2006. Bluebird 77:136-142.

Han, K-L., M.B. Robbins, and M.J. Braun. 2010. A multi-gene estimate of phylogeny in the Nightjars and nighthawks (Caprimulgidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 55:443-453.

Robbins, M.B., A.S. Nyári, M. Papes, B.W. Benz, and B.R. Barber. 2010. River-based surveys for assessing riparian birds populations: Cerulean Warbler as a test case. Southeastern Naturalist 9:95-104.

Robbins, M.B., A.S. Nyári, M. Papes, and B.W. Benz. 2009. Song rates, mating status, and territory size of Cerulean Warblers in Missouri Ozark riparian forest. Wilson Journ. Ornith. 121:283-289.

Hobson, K.A. and M.B. Robbins. 2009. Origins of late-breeding nomadic Sedge Wrens in North America: limitations and potential of hydrogen-isotope analyses of soft tissue. Condor 111:188-192.

Zimmer, K.J., M.B. Robbins, C. Kopuchian. 2008.  Taxonomy, vocalizations, syringeal morphology and natural history of Automolus roraimae (Furnariidae). Bull. Brit. Ornith. Club 128:187-206.

Robbins, M.B. 2008.  Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis) early winter status at Prairie State Park, Barton County, Missouri. Bluebird 75:26-29.

Peterson, A.T., R.G. Moyle, A.S. Nyari, M.B. Robbins, R.T. Brumfield, and J.V. Remsen, Jr. 2008. The need for proper vouchering in phylogenetic studies of birds. Letter to the editor. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 45:1042-1044.

Robbins, M.B., M.J. Braun, C.M. Milensky, B.K. Schmidt, W. Prince, N.H. Rice, D.W. Finch, and B.J. O’Shea.  2007. Avifauna of the upper Essequibo River and Acary Mountains, southern Guyana. Ornitologia Neotropical 18:339-368.

Robbins, M.B. 2007.  Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Trygnites subruficollis) fall migration at sod farms in Kansas. Kansas Ornith. Soc. 58:25-28.

Benz, B.W., M.B. Robbins, and A.T. Peterson.  2006. Evolutionary history of woodpeckers and allies (Aves: Picidae): placing key taxa on the phylogenetic tree. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 40:389-399.

Robbins, M.B., S. Patti, A. Nyari, C. Hobbs, and M. C. Thompson.  2006. Common Raven nesting attempt in Morton County, Kansas. Kansas Ornith. Soc. 57:27-28.

Robbins, M.B., A.T. Peterson, A. Nyari, G. Chen, T. J. Davis. 2006. Ornithological Surveys of two reserves in Guangxi Autonomus, China. 2004-2005. Forktail 22:140-146.

Robbins, M. B. and K. J. Zimmer. 2005.  Taxonomy, Vocalizations, and Natural History of Philydor dimidiatum (Furnariidae). Bull. Brit. Ornith. Club 125:212:228.

Robbins, M. B., D.E. Seibel, and C. Cicero. 2005. Probable Yellow-bellied (Sphyrapicus varius) x Red-breasted Sapsucker (S. ruber) hybrid from eastern Kansas, with comments on the field identification of adult sapsuckers.  North American Birds 59: 360-363.

Robbins, M.B., M.J. Braun, C.J. Huddleston, D.W. Finch, and C.M. Milensky.  2005. First Guyana records, natural history, and systematics of the White-winged Seedeater (Dolospingus fringilloides). Ibis 147:334-341.

Braun, M.J., M.L. Isler, P.R. Isler, J. Bates, and M.B. Robbins.  2005.  Avian speciation in the Pantepui: the case of the Roraiman Antbird (Percnostola [Schistocichla“leucostigma” saturata). Condor 107:327-341.

Peterson, A.T., N. Komar, O. Komar, A. Navarro-Sigüenza, M. B. Robbins, and E. Martinez-Meyer. 2004. Priority contribution West Nile Virus in the New World: potential impacts on bird species. Bird Conserv. International 14:215-232.

Robbins, M.B., M.J. Braun, M.J., D.W. Finch. 2004. Avifauna of the Guyana southern Rupununi, with comparisons to other savannas of northern South America. Ornitologia Neotropical 15:173-200.

Robbins, M.B. 2004.  Status and distribution of Merlin (Falco columbarius) subspecies in Missouri, with comments on subspecific identification. Bluebird 71:6-11.


South American Bird Check-list Committee, current.

American Birding Association Check-list Committee, 1998 through 2005 (chair from 2000 to 2005).

Missouri and Kansas Bird Records Committee, 1989 to present.