Postdoctoral fellows

Dr Diana Bolopo


Dr Diana Bolopo
PhD (U. Valladolid)

John Day Building Room 2.16
Tel: +27 21 650 4008
Fax: +27 21 650 3295


After finishing her BSc in Biology at Leon University in Spain, Diana studied brood parasite-host interactions in the Great-spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius and its two main hosts in Northern Spain, Eurasian Magpie Pica pica and Carrion Crow Corvus corone. During her PhD, under the guidance of Dr Vittorio Baglione and Dr Daniela Canestrari at the University of Valladolid, she studied several aspects of the host-parasite system in order to explain the current host change of the cuckoo in this area. She investigated how subtle changes such as environmental (i.e. predation levels) and physiological (i.e. host chick age) conditions may change this parasitic relationship into a mutualism. Diana also studied how the parasite’s mating system may change depending on its population density, and how its host use varies depending on environmental factors such as vegetation characteristics. Besides, she had the chance to study cooperative nest sanitation behaviour at an uncommon cooperative breeding population of carrion crows.

After finishing her PhD in 2014, Diana received a post-doc fellowship to work in Japan and New Caledonia studying Common Cuckoos Cuculus canorus and Shining Bronze Cuckoos Chalcites lucidus with Prof Keisuke Ueda and Prof Jim Briskie. Her UCT postdoctoral research fellowship started at the FitzPatrick Institute in July 2016. She will be working with Dr Robert Thomson on the interactions and coevolution between African Pygmy Falcons Polihierax semitorquatus and Sociable Weavers Philetairus socius.

Recent peer-reviewed publications:

Bolopo, D., Lowney, A.M. and Thomson, R.L. 2019. Helpers improve fledgling body condition in bigger broods of cooperatively breeding African pygmy falcon. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 73:16. 

Attisano, A., Thiel, F., Sato, N., Okahisa, Y., Bolopo, D., Tanaka, K.D., Kuehn, R., Gula, R., Ueda, K. and Theuerkauf, J. 2018. Breeding biology of the Fan-tailed Gerygone Gerygone flavolateralis in relation to parasitism by the shining Bronze-cuckoo Chalcites lucidus. Journal of Ornithology

Krochuk, B.A., Bolopo, D., Lowney, A.M., Meyers, P.R., Spottiswoode, C.N., Raman, R.M.G. and Thomson, R.L. 2018. Why defaecate on your doorstep? Investigating an unusual behaviour in Africa’s smallest falcon. Ostrich. 

Bolopo, D., Canestrari, D., Martínez, J.G., Roldan, M., Macías-Sanchez, E., Vila, M., Soler, M. and Baglione, V. 2016. Flexible mating patterns in an obligate brood parasite. Ibis 159: 103-112. 

Bolopo, D., Canestrari, D. and Baglione, V. 2015. Nest sanitation in cooperative breeding carrion crows. The Auk, 132(3), 604-612.

Bolopo, D., Canestrari, D., Roldán, M., Soler, M. and Baglione, V. 2015. High begging intensity of great spotted cuckoo nestlings favours larger-size crow nest mates. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 69, 873-882.

Röder, G., Canestrari, D., Bolopo, D., Marcos, J.M., Villard, N., Baglione, V. and Turlings, T.C. 2014. Chicks of the great spotted cuckoo may turn brood parasitism into mutualism by producing a foul-smelling secretion that repels predators. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 40 (4), 320-324.

Canestrari, D., Bolopo, D., Turlings, T. C. J., Röder, G., Marcos, J.M. and Baglione, V. 2014. From parasitism to mutualism: unexpected interactions between a cuckoo and its host. Science, 343, 1350-1352.

Röder, G., Baglione, V., Bolopo, D., Canestrari, D., Marcos, J.M., Trnka, A. and Turlings, T. 2016. Small emissions with major consequences: specialized malodorous defences in birds, in Chemical Signals in Vertebrates, Vol 13.