T.J. Lafeber Avian Practitioner of the Year

Dr Robert Doneley

Dr. Robert Doneley

Robert Doneley, BVSc, FANZCVS is an Associate Professor and Head of the Avian and Exotic Pet Service at The University of Queensland, School of Veterinary Science, Australia.

Education & certification

Bob Doneley earned his Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) from The University of Queensland, Australia in 1982. Dr. Doneley has been a certified specialist in avian medicine through the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists since 2003.

Clinical experience

As of 2018, Dr. Doneley has been in clinical practice for 36 years. After graduating from veterinary school, Dr. Doneley served as an associate veterinarian in private practices in Queensland and the United Kingdom. He became owner of West Toowomba Veterinary Surgery in Queensland in 1988. He owned this practice for 22 years but also found time to serve as an adjunct associate veterinary at The University of Queensland, before leaving to head the Avian and Exotic Pet Service at the School of Veterinary Science in 2010.


As an educator, Dr. Doneley has had an impact on countless students. He teaches approximately 160 hours of didactic lectures and practical classes on an annual basis. At an undergraduate level, he teaches across all 5 years of the veterinary course as well as the 3 years of the veterinary technology course. He has been successful in vertically integrating this teaching so that he begins with avian husbandry, moves into nutrition, physiology and reproduction, and then clinical reasoning, followed by medicine and surgery. This training culminates in a clinical rotation during the senior year. The Avian and Exotic Pet Service sees approximately 1,200 patients annually, of which 70% are birds, both free-ranging and aviary or companion birds. Dr. Doneley is also responsible for training residents and for guiding and encouraging them to do research and publish their findings.

Honors & awards

Dr. Doneley has many honors and awards to his credit, including service awards for his contributions to the Association of Avian Veterinarians in 1994, 1995, 1996, 2015 and 2016 as well as a Meritorious Service Award from the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in 2015. He was also awarded the National Emergency Medal, an Australian honor given for sustained service during a national emergency. During the Gatton-Grantham floods in Queensland during January 2011, Dr. Doneley provided veterinary care for over 130 animals evacuated during the 2011 floods. At the same time he coordinated the security and safe storage of the Veterinary Medical Centre and perishable drugs after power was lost to the building.

Professional organizations

Bob is an active member of numerous associations including the Association of Avian Veterinarians, the Association of Avian Veterinarians, Australasian Committee (AAVAC), Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), Unusual Pets and Avian Veterinarians (UPAV) Special Interest Group of the AVA, and the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists. Dr. Doneley currently serves as the President of the Avian Health Chapter of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists. He is also the 2018 Vice-President of the AVA. Dr. Doneley also teaches a twice-yearly post-graduate course on backyard poultry medicine and surgery as well as webinars for UPAV.


Dr. Doneley has authored two books on avian medicine. The popular text Avian Medicine and Surgery in Practice has been reprinted as a second edition and has also been translated into German. Bob has also contributed chapters to 10 other textbooks and published 42 papers in peer-reviewed literature. He is also a contributing author for a bimonthly column in the Australian Birdkeeper (ABK) Magazine and Vet’s Corner, a bimonthly article in the Parrot Society of Australia magazine. He has also contributed to chapters on health and disease in six books published by ABK on parrots.


Dr. Doneley also finds time to present at four or five veterinary conferences each year. He also conducts regular continuing education or professional development events in avian medicine for the University of Queensland. Bob is also a presenter at the Aves International Avicultural Convention, held every second year for the last 20 years. He also speaks annually to the Parrot Society and he is a regular presenter at other bird clubs in southeastern Queensland.

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