Alexander F. Skutch Medal

The Skutch Medal recognizes career accomplishments, particularly in, although not limited to, research relating to life history studies of Neotropical birds. Criteria may include encouragement and mentoring of students, particularly Latin Americans, and making research accessible to the public through popular publications, as well as publishing work in scientific journals. A goal of the award is to recognize individuals whose careers will stand as models of excellence in Neotropical ornithology.

The first award was presented by Dr. Skutch in 1997 to F. Gary Stiles at the 75th AFO meeting in San José, Costa Rica. Subsequent medal winners have been Herbert A. Raffaele (1999) and Mercedes S. Foster (2006). The award consists of a silver medal engraved with an image of the Fiery-billed Aracari (Pteroglossus frantzii) and a check for US$1000.

The AFO Council will consider nominations received by July 31, 2013 for an award to be made at the 2014 annual meeting. Nominations may be made by e-mail or letter to the Committee and should address the candidate’s contributions to Neotropical ornithology with particular reference to the criteria mentioned above. Supporting materials should include a justification for receiving the award and biographical information, which may be accompanied by publications of the candidate, supporting letters, and other relevant information. Nominations may be sent via e-mail or regular mail to:

Dr. Herb Raffaele
Chief, Division of International Conservation
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22203

Read Elissa Landre’s article on the history between Dr. Skutch and AFO

Previous Winners:

AFO is honored to present the 2010 Skutch Medal to John P. O’Neill. Dr. O’Neill is renowned as one of America’s foremost bird illustrators, and his fieldwork in Peru has led to the discovery of more species of birds than any other living naturalist, including three new genera. During his more than thirty-five years of expeditions and explorations in South America, John O’Neill has mentored and trained more than a hundred students from U.S. and Peruvian universities, leading to many bi-national collaborations, publications, and discoveries. Among his many accomplishments is the recent publication of “Birds of Peru”, an outstanding field guide to the birds of this remarkable country.


Although many people write books, many fewer have books written about them. John O’Neill falls in the latter category, with Don Stap’s book “A Parrot without a Name” (Knopf, 1990), chronicling how O’Neill’s unique brand of expeditionary science has helped place the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science at the forefront of Neotropical Ornithology.

O’Neill earned his Master’s and Doctorate degrees at LSU, and worked as the Curator of Higher Vertebrates at the LSU Museum of Natural Science for several years. He then served as the Director for 5 years. Realizing that he had no time for his painting, he decided to step down to focus on his artwork and organizing expeditions for the Museum.

In addition to scientific publications and pursuits, O’Neill has made his life’s work accessible to the public through hundreds of articles and paintings published in magazines, books, non-profit newsletters, newspapers, and exhibited in museums throughout the U.S. and many foreign countries. O’Neill’s paintings are in the collections of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Beijing Natural History Museum, and the Denver Museum of Natural History, among others.

The Skutch Medal was presented at the annual meeting in Ogden, Utah.

Mercedes S. Foster

**details coming soon**

Herbert A. Raffaele

**details coming soon**

F. Gary Stiles

**details coming soon**