Exciting news for us is that our Memorandum of Understanding between Copperbelt University (in Kitwe, Zambia), the University of Cambridge (UK) and the University of Cape Town (South Africa) was signed by our respective heads of department. This MoU sets out our commitment to continue the very positive communication and cooperation that has developed between our research team and Copperbelt University’s Department of Zoology and Aquatic Science, headed by Dr Lackson Chama, an ecologist, ornithologist and good friend of our project. The photo shows Lackson and Claire visiting Stellenbosch University in 2014.
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.