News

New egg camouflage game

For the last three years we've been studying the evolution of nest camouflage in ground-nesting birds such as nightjars, plovers and coursers in the field in Zambia (and South Africa), in collaboration with Exeter University's Sensory Ecology Group. Play a new computer game online and by exerting...

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New field season

It's the rainy reason in the miombo woodlands of south-central Africa, and we're back in the field in Choma. Gabriel Jamie is kicking off his PhD research on the role of phenotypic plasticity in facilitating the amazing radiation of Vidua brood-parasitic finches and their hosts, and Wenfei...

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Perspectives on brood parasitism and cooperative breeding

Perspectives on brood parasitism and cooperative breeding

Naomi Langmore's team at the Australian National University have just published a wonderful paper in Science showing that brood parasitism may have been a significant force in the evolution of cooperative breeding in birds: see Feeney et al. (2014) Brood parasitism and the evolution of cooperative...

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New Cuckoo Finch paper

Cuckoo Finch eggs mimic those of their hosts, and the same Cuckoo Finch female commonly lays two or more eggs in the same host nest. In this paper we show that this increases her chances of tricking hosts into accepting the parasitic eggs as their own. By increasing the proportion of foreign eggs...

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New field season begins

New field season begins

It's spring in the miombo woodlands of south-central Africa, and we're back in the field in Choma. Nicholas Horrocks, Wenfei Tong and Claire Spottiswoode are just starting a new season of field experiments on honeyguides, and Jolyon Troscianko and Jared Wilson-Aggarwal are starting their second...

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New honeyguide paper published

Honeyguides and other brood parasitic birds are famous for tricking host parents by laying eggs that mimic their own. Honeyguide eggs mimic host eggs in size yet, surprisingly, bee-eater hosts are undiscriminating and readily accept mismatched eggs. This study shows that honeyguide egg size...

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