Donald Brightsmith's Portrait

Donald Brightsmith

Associate Professor

College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences


Donald Brightsmith’s research focuses on the conservation, ecology, health, and welfare of parrots and their relatives in both the wild and captivity through the Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center.

Brightsmith did his doctoral research in Manu, Peru, and has been involved in parrot and macaw research ever since. In 1999, took over the Tambopata Macaw Project, to study the ecology and conservation of macaws and parrots in the lowlands of southern Peru. Since then, he has led the project from strength to strength and published a host of ground breaking papers on various aspects of macaw breeding, reintroduction and clay lick ecology.

Tambopata is a unique forest environment, with the highest concentrations of avian clay licks in the world. A range of animals come to satisfy their need for salt along the river banks of the region.

The experience of hundreds of macaws at a claylick is one of the world’s ornithological highlights. The Tambopata faces imminent threat from the paving of a highway through one of the planet’s most biodiverse regions. We need all the help and assistance we can get to try and understand what the impacts may be for one of the forests major icons.

Brightsmith is an associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He joined the faculty at Texas A&M in 2005.

He earned a BS in natural resources from Cornell University and a PhD in zoology from Duke University.