Physiological and behavioral ecology of black and white-browed coucals

Abstract The African black coucal (Centropus grillii) and the white-browed coucal (Centropus superciliosus) breed in the open grasslands of the Usangu plains in south-western Tanzania. These two species are similar in size and share the same breeding habitat, but show extreme differences in their breeding biology. The white-browed coucal is socially monogamous, with both female and males sharing parental duties. In the black coucal the sex roles are reversed: each female vigorously defends a territory and is mated to up to 4 males. Each male incubates his own clutch of eggs and raises the young all-by-himself.
We are interested in various aspects of the behavioral ecology, phenology, evolution and (hormone) physiology of sex-roles in coucals. The project involves long-term and intensive field work (including catching and tagging of birds, behavioral observations, telemetry) under harsh conditions in Tanzania and laboratory work in Germany.

We particularly encourage applications of suitable PhD candidates from Tanzania.

Funding of this particular PhD project is not secured and depends on successful application for a DAAD grant of the PhD candidate together with the supervisor.

Keywords sex-role reversal, mating system evolution, territorial behavior, telemetry, nestlings, fledglings

Main advisor Wolfgang Goymann, MPIO Seewiesen

Interested in this PhD project? Apply here!

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