Philip Kahl was a vertebrate zoologist and a photographer who was an authority on storks, spoonbills, flamingos, and African elephants.
He spent over two decades studying all of the members of several important families of water birds whose nesting colonies inhabit disparate and remote parts of the world, and many years studying the social behavior of elephants. His comprehensive, comparative descriptions of animal behavior provided critical insights for biological systematists tracking evolutionary changes and for conservationists seeking to preserve the birds’ aquatic environments. Bypassing a traditional academic career, this independent researcher supported his global travels largely by the sale of his wildlife photographs, renowned for their detail and beauty.
Kahl was the author of Wonders of Storks (1978) and co-author of Storks, Ibises and Spoonbills of the World (1992). His photographs appeared in National Geographic, Audubon, International Wildlife, and Natural History. Kahl published many important research papers on water bird, vertebrate ecology and behavior in journals such as Nature and Ecological Monographs.
Kahl received a B.S. (1956) from Butler University, and an M.A. (1961) and a Ph.D. (1963) from the University of Georgia.