Staff, Students & Associates
Staff & Student Pages
Research Programmes

Research Opportunities

Field assistant positions will be advertised from time to time. Field assistants are sought mainly for the breeding season (September – March).

Students interested in conducting postgraduate research on the pied babblers are welcome to make queries regarding current opportunities.

Online Public Access Catalogue & Reprints

The Niven Library's online public access catalogue is a searchable database listing all publications in the Library. Reprints can be obtained by contacting the Library Manager.

Staff, Students & Associates

Honorary Research Associate

Assoc. Prof. Amanda Ridley
PhD (Cantab)

(Based at University of Western Australia)

Email: or

Activities and research interests

Assoc. Prof. Amanda Ridley is a behavioural ecologist with a specific interest in cooperative breeding behaviour. She works on populations in the wild, primarily involving bird species. Amanda is based at the University of Western Australia, but remains an Honorary Research Associate at the FitzPatrick Institute. Amanda established and is Principal Investigator of the Pied Babbler Research Project, a long-term research project that studies the dynamics of cooperation, including the causes and consequences of helping behaviour, population dynamics, interspecific interaction and communication, kin recognition and life-history strategies (for more information, see Amanda has also established the Western Magpie Research Project in Perth, which focusses on the relationship between cognition and sociality. Her other research activities are on seabird population dynamics on offshore islands in the Pilbara region, and population dynamics in the Arabian babbler. 

Research Programmes

Cooperative Breeding and Sociality in Birds (including the Pied Babbler Research Project)

Current students

Mentor to the following postdoctoral fellows

Dr Martha Nelson-Flower (UCT)
Dr Tom Flower (UCT)
Dr Peter Santema (research assistant at Arabian Babbler study site)


Oded Keynan (Macquarie University): The effect of group size and composition on individual behaviour, group dynamics and population regulation in the Arabian Babbler (Turdoides squamiceps)

Benjamin Ashton (University of Western Australia):  The relationship between cognition, cooperation and fitness in cooperative magpies. 

Elizabeth Wiley (University of Western Australia): Population dynamics and vocal coordination in cooperatively breeding pied babblers.

Melanie Mirville (University of Western Australia): Intergroup interaction and social dynamics in the Mountain Gorilla

Phillip Allen (University of Western Australia): Foraging range, colony dynamics and reproductive success of pelagic seabirds in a changing climate in the Pilbara.

Sabrina Engesser (Zurich University, on panel of co-supervisors to this student): The evolution of language in a cooperative society. 

Recent peer-reviewed publications

Mandy Ridley's list of publications:

Ridley, A.R., Wiley, E.M. & Thompson, A.M. 2014. The ecological benefits of interceptive eavesdropping. Functional Ecology 28, 197-205.  Link    Lay summary

Thompson, A.M., Ridley, A.R., Hockey, P.A.R., Finch, F.M., Britton, A. & Raihani, N.J. 2013. The influence of siblings on begging behaviour. Animal Behaviour 86: 811-819. Link

Nelson-Flower, M.J., Hockey, P.A.R., O’Ryan, C., English, S., Thompson, A.M., Bradley, K., Rose, R. & Ridley, A.R. 2013. Costly reproductive competition between females in a monogamous cooperatively breeding bird. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B - Biological Sciences 280, 20130728. Link.    

Thompson, A.M., Raihani, N.J., Hockey, P.A.R., Britton, A., Finch F. & Ridley, A.R. 2013.
The influence of fledgling location on adult provisioning: a test of the blackmail hypothesis. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B - Biological Sciences 280, 20130558. 

Ridley, A.R., Nelson-Flower, M.J. & Thompson, A.M. 2013. Is sentinel behaviour safe? An experimental investigation. Animal Behaviour 85, 137-142. Link

Thompson, A.M. & Ridley, A.R. 2013. Do fledglings choose wisely? An experimental investigation into social foraging behaviour. Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology 67, 69-78. Link

Flower, T.P., Child, M.F. & Ridley, A.R. 2013. The ecological economics of kleptoparasitism: payoffs from self-foraging versus kleptoparasitism. Journal of Animal Ecology 82, 245-255. Link

Ridley, A.R. & van den Heuvel, I.M. 2012. Is there a difference in reproductive performance between cooperative and non-cooperative species? A southern African comparison. Behaviour 149, 821-848. Link

Child, M.F., Flower, T.P. & Ridley, A.R. 2012. Investigating a link between bill morphology, foraging ecology and kleptoparasitic behaviour in the fork-tailed drongo Dicrurus adsimilisAnimal Behaviour 84, 1013-1022. Link 

du Plessis, K.L., Martin, R.O., Hockey, P.A.R., Cunningham, S.J.C. & Ridley, A.R. 2012. The costs of keeping cool in a warming world: implications of high temperatures for foraging, thermoregulation and body condition of an arid-zone bird. Global Change Biology 18, 3063-3070Link    

Nelson-Flower, M.J., Hockey, P.A.R., O’Ryan, C. & Ridley, A.R. 2012. Inbreeding avoidance mechanisms: dispersal dynamics in cooperatively breeding pied babblers. Journal of Animal Ecology 81, 875-882.  Link 

Mzumara, T.I., Hockey, P.A.R. & Ridley, A.R. 2012. Re-assessment of the conservation status of the endangered yellow-throated apalis, Apalis flavigularis, of Malawi. Bird Conservation International 22, 184-192Link 

Golabek, K.A., Ridley, A.R. & Radford, A.N. 2012. Food availability affects strength of seasonal territorial behaviour in a cooperatively breeding bird.Animal Behaviour 83, 613-619. Link 

Ridley, A.R. & Thompson, A.M. 2012The effect of Jacobin cuckoo parasitism on the body mass and survival of young in a new host species. Ibis 154, 195-199. Link 

Ridley, A.R. 2012. Invading together: the benefits of coalition dispersal in a cooperative bird. Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology 66, 77-83Link 


Last modified: 2015/01/07
Copyright: Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology 2014
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