Our research seeks to understand how animals acquire and use information, how this influences their fitness, and the evolution of others in their environments.
Animals gather information from two main sources: personal experience ('personal information') and by observing the actions of others ('social information'). We are interested in why and when each of these types of information is used, whether one is favoured over the other, or if information is instead combined. The way an individual uses information may have implications for others in their community - if they use social information, it becomes available to a wider network of individuals. Or, if information is passed on with error, this could affect evolutionary outcomes for the 'third party' - the prey being eaten, or the brood parasite attempting to lay its egg.
We study cuckoos and their hosts in the UK, and in Australasia using field experiments.
We use great tits as our model predators to conduct experiments in captivity and the wild.