Fritz Hertel

Fritz Hertel
(818) 677-3353
Office location:
Chaparral Hall 5321



University of California Los Angeles, Ph.D.

Research Specialties

Most of my research concerns the functional morphology of birds and mammals and its relationship to ecological segregation among species. I am also interested in macroevolutionary questions such as how morphological and functional diversity compares among recent and fossil communities (e.g., vultures, raptors, antelopes).

Ongoing Research Projects

  • Ecomorphological diversity of feeding, flying, and killing behavior among recent and fossil birds of prey
  • Ecomorphological foraging strategies among pelagic seabirds and among South American songbirds
  • Form and function of the hindlimb of birds - the antitrochanter and automated balance system
  • Ecomorphology of recent and fossil African antelopes as related to habitat preferences


Representative Publications

van Oordt, F., J. Torres-Mura, and F. Hertel (2018). Ecomorphology of Pacific boobies. Ibis 160: 313-326.

Sustaita, D., A. Rico-Guevera, and F. Hertel (2018). Foraging Behavior. In: Ornithology: Foundation, Analysis, and Application (Morrison, M. L., A. D. Rodewald, G. Voelker, M. R. Colon, and J. F. Prather, eds.). Johns Hopkins University Press.

Sausner, J., J-C. Torres-Mura, J. Robertson, and F. Hertel (2016). Ecomorphological differences in foraging and pattering behavior among storm-petrels in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Auk 133: 397– 414.

Hertel, F., J. E. Maldonado, and D. Sustaita (2015). Wing and hindlimb myology of vultures and raptors (Accipitriformes) in relation to locomotion and foraging. Acta Zoologica 96: 283-295.

Louys, J., S. Montanari, T. Plummer, F. Hertel, & L. C. Bishop (2012). Evolutionary Divergence and Convergence in Shape and Size within African Antelope Proximal Phalanges. Journal of Mammalian Evolution 20(3): 239–248.

Sustaita, D. and Hertel, F. (2010). In-vivo bite and grip forces, morphology, and prey-killing behavior of North American accipiters (Accipitridae) and falcons (Falconidae). Journal of Experimental Biology 213: 2617-2628.

Plummer, T., Bishop, L. and F. Hertel (2008). Habitat preference of extant African bovids based on astragalus morphology: operationalizing ecomorphology for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction. Journal of Archaeological Science 35: 3016-3027.

Hertel, F. and K. E. Campbell (2007).  The antitrochanter of birds: form and function in balance.  Auk 124(3): 789-805.

Roy, M. S., J. C. Torres-Mura, and F. Hertel (1998). Evolution and history of hummingbirds (Aves: Trochilidae) from the Juan Fernandez Islands, Chile. Ibis 140(2): 265-273.

Hertel, F. (1995). Ecomorphological indicators of feeding behavior in Recent and fossil raptors. Auk 112(4): 890-903.

Hertel, F. (1994). Diversity in body size and feeding morphology within past and present vulture assemblages. Ecology 75(4): 1074-1084.


Avian Ecology (Biol 414)
Mammalogy (Biol 415) 
Marine Tetrapods (Biol 433)
Tropical Vertebrates (Biol 446) 
Comparative Anatomy (Biol 432)

Graduate Students


Matteo Mlinarevic – Ecomorphology and genetics of the Common Diuca Finch
Rennie MacIntosh - Effects of avian scavenging competition on the behavior of Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura)


Elliott Bloom – Ecomorphology of Penguins in the genus Spheniscus
Jeffrey Esparza - Niche segregation of armadillos in the southern Pantanal
Jake Holmes - Geomorphometric analysis of skeletal wing structures in Old and New World vultures
Josh Sausner - Ecomorphology of storm-petrels from the Pacific coast of the Americas
Francis van Oordt – Ecomorphology and foraging behavior of Pacific boobies
Allan Harell – Ecomorphology of cormorants from Mediterranean climates
Jessica Dooley - Bald Eagle space use and diets on the CA Channel Islands determined by GPS and stable isotopes
Michael Brewer - Wing shape and flight behavior in pelecaniform seabirds
Diego Sustaita (CSU San Marcos, Dept. Biology) - Musculoskeletal underpinnings to differences in killing behavior between North American accipiters and falcons