We were very happy to welcome Dr Lackson Chama, from the Department of Zoology and Aquatic Sciences at Copperbelt University in Zambia, on a four-day visit to the University of Cape Town. Lackson gave seminars at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute and at Stellenbosch University on his research on the ecology of avian frugivory, and met with prospective research collaborators, already resulting in some exciting plans for joint work. We’re extremely grateful for Lackson’s kind help in facilitating our continued research in Zambia.
In a new paper published in Evolution, Dr Gabriel Jamie along with Silky Hamama, Collins Moya and Prof. Claire Spottiswoode from the African Cuckoos team and collaborators from University of Puerto Rico (Steven Van Belleghem), Princeton University (Dr Cassie Stoddard and Dr Ben Hogan) and University of Cambridge (Professor Rebecca Kilner) provide evidence of host-specific mimicry in the indigobirds and whydahs of Africa. Building on the pioneering work of Robert Payne and Jürgen Nicolai, they provide quantitative evidence that nestling Vidua finches mimic the patterns, colours and begging calls of their host’s nestling, and qualitative evidence of mimicry of host movements.