F. Vaughan Kirby (sometimes F. Vaughan-Kirby) was a traveller, hunter and collector of natural history specimens. In 1896 he published In haunts of wild game; a hunter-naturalist's wanderings from Kahlamba to Libombo (Edinburgh), a comprehensive sporting book of good quality, with an appendix on the fauna of parts of Mozambique and the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa. It was followed by Sport in East Central Africa... (London, 1899), describing his hunting in Mozambique and including an appendix with field notes on various animals. He also contributed to Great and small game of Africa (London, 1899), a volume edited by H.A. Bryden. Two notes by him were published in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, the first "On a variety of Cervicapra from the Transvaal" (1897), the second his "Field-notes on the Blue Duiker of the Cape Colony (Cephalophus monticola)" (1899).
After the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) Kirby applied, unsuccessfully it seems, for employment on the Sabie Game Reserve (later the Kruger National Park). Instead he became superintendent of the Transvaal Museum's zoological gardens (later the National Zoological Gardens, Pretoria) until 1907. By 1908 he was making a living by selling birds and mammals to museums and private collectors. In April that year he and his friend Austin Roberts* went to Portuguese East Africa (now Mozambique) in response to an advertisement by the Boror Company, which had extensive coffee and sugar plantations in the territory, for hunters to come and rid their property of lions. They hunted and collected to November and both suffered from fever. Some of Kirby's mammal specimens were sold to the Transvaal Museum. In 1911 he was appointed as conservator of game for Zululand, a post he held until his retirement in 1929. He was stationed at Nongoma, some 70 km south of the Swaziland border. In 1912 he became in addition a justice of the peace for Zululand.
Kirby was a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London and in 1906 became a member of the South African Ornithologists' Union. During the next few years he contributed two short papers to the union's Journal: "Field-notes on the 'Woodbush Warbler', (Hemipteryx minuta Gunn.)" (1910, Vol. 6(1), pp. 15-17), and "Field-notes on birds observed and collected in the Boror District of Portuguese East Africa" (1913, Vol. 9(1), pp. 57-63). In 1916, when the South African Ornithologists' Union amalgamated with the Transvaal Biological Society to form the South African Biological Society, he became a foundation member of the latter and was still a member by 1920. In 1916 he delivered a paper on "Game and game preservation in Zululand" at the annual congress of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science, though he was not a member. The paper was published in the association's Report for that year (pp. 375-396). His later publications included "The White Rhinoceros, with special reference to its habits in Zululand" (Durban Museum Novitates, 1920, Vol. 2.5, pp. 23-42).