Lowe was born at Stamford, Lincolnshire and studied medicine at Jesus College, Cambridge. He served as a civil surgeon in the Second Boer War, and it was whilst in South Africa that he became interested in ornithology. On his return he became private physician to Sir Frederick Johnstone, 8th Baronet. During World War One he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps; he was Officer in Command on Princess Christian Ambulance Train for which he was awarded the OBE in 1920.
He was editor of the Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club from 1920 to 1925 and president of the British Ornithologists' Union from 1938 to 1943. His 1936 publication The finches of the Galapagos in relation to Darwin's conception of species introduced the term Darwin's finches.
In 1939 he was elected a Corresponding Member of the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union.
- Lowe, P. R. (1936), "The finches of the Galapagos in relation to Darwin's conception of species", Ibis (6): 310–321
- Lack, David (1940), "Evolution of the Galapagos Finches", Nature (7 September 1940) 146 (146): 324–327, doi:10.1038/146324a0, retrieved 2008-12-09
- Steinheimer, F. D. (2004), "Charles Darwin's bird collection and ornithological knowledge during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, 1831-1836", Journal of Ornithology 145 (145(4)): 300–320, doi:10.1007/s10336-004-0043-8, retrieved 2008-12-08
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