The aim of the project is to test hypotheses concerning geographical distribution of avian diversity in terms of species richness and diversity in ecological function. It endeavours to describe and explain changes in avian diversity across various environmental gradients from local to continental scale in Africa, with a special focus on latitude and elevation. The project uses an integrative approach combining (i) compilation of published data, (ii) intensive field work in the tropics, and (iii) modern lab methodologies. Its general goal is to investigate how geographical patterns in species richness correspond to life histories of birds and their environmental determinants (e.g. vegetation structure). Specifically, it is designed to answer questions how (1) niche specialization and (2) selection on position in the slow-fast continuum of life histories relates to generation of avian species richness. The study will provide a deeper insight into determinants of avian diversity, it will contribute to understanding evolution of life histories, and ensure unique data for Africa.