MacArthur Fellows Program

Marvin Philip Kahl

Zoologist | Class of 1988

Sedona, Arizona
54 at time of award
December 4, 2012
Published August 1, 1988

About Philip's Work

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. 

Last updated January 1, 2005.

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