Kees Moeliker writes and speaks about natural history, especially birds and remarkable animal behavior, as well as improbable research and science-communication-with-a-laugh.

Why you should listen

In Kees Moeliker's career (he's now curator of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam) he's rediscovered long-lost birds, such as the black-chinned monarch (Monarcha boanensis) on the remote Moluccan island of Boano in 1991. On the tiny West Papuan island of Boo he collected and named a new subspecies of fruit bat (Macroglossus minimus booensis).

Aaaaand he's the guy who observed and published the first scientifically documented case of homosexual necrophilia in ducks. For this, he was awarded the 2003 Ig Nobel biology prize, and that much-coveted award led him to appreciate that curiosity and humour can be powerful tools for scientists and science communicators.

Moeliker later used these tools to tell the world about two other notorious, complicated subjects: the brutally murdered ‘Domino’ sparrow and the feared disappearance of the once-ubiquitous pubic louse. He has pioneered unusual ways to engage international audience — to make people think about remarkable animal behaviour, biodiversity and habitat destruction.

His writings include two books, in Dutch: 'De eendenman' (The Duck Guy, 2009) and 'De bilnaad van de teek' (The Butt Crack of the Tick, 2012).

Each year, on June 5, he organizes Dead Duck Day, an event that commemorates the first known case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck. The event also raises awareness for the tremendous number of bird deaths caused, worldwide, by glass buildings.

Kees Moeliker’s TED talk

Kees Moeliker on the TED Blog
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How a dead duck changed the TED audience’s life

April 1, 2013

In the days leading up to TED2013, we at the TED Blog revealed the best props at TEDs past and showed you the speakers who’d brought animals on stage with them. Little did we know that, on the day two of the conference, we’d meet a speaker who’d combine both. In today’s talk, given at […]

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How a dead duck changed my life: Kees Moeliker at TED2013

February 28, 2013

In 1995, the Natural History Museum Rotterdam got a new wing made of glass. It was beautiful for humans — but not so much for birds. Many of them lost their lives flying into the invisible walls. “I developed an ear for identifying birds just by the sound of the bang they made on the glass,” says Kees […]

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