Adaptation, mimicry and co-evolution in Africa's avian cheats: cuckoo finches, honeyguides, indigobirds & cuckoos



Research on brood parasites and other curious African birds

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Cuckoos, cuckoo finches, honeyguides, indigobirds and other brood-parasitic birds are the cheats of the bird world, that exploit the care of other species to raise their young. In doing so they give us some of the most beautiful examples of adaptation seen in nature, and are also ideal study systems for field research on coevolution – the process by which two or more species affect each other's evolution.

We are a group of evolutionary biologists studying brood parasites (and other interesting birds) in the field in Choma, Zambia, since 2006, based jointly in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge in the UK, and the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. The project is led by Claire Spottiswoode, BBSRC David Phillips Research Fellow and Hans Gadow Lecturer at the University of Cambridge, and Pola Pasvolsky Chair in Conservation Biology at the University of Cape Town.

On this website you can find out more about our research questions, the brood parasites and other interesting birds we study, see photos of our fieldwork, and read a bit about who we are, what we've written, and who supports our work.

Greater Honeyguide chick