Mandy Ridley

Associate Professor, PhD Camb.

  • The University of Western Australia (M092), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


  • 1454 Citations
  • 25 h-Index
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Personal profile


2004 PhD Behavioural Ecology, Cambridge University, UK
1999 BSC (Hons) Animal Ecology, Lincoln University, New Zealand

After finishing my PhD, I was awarded a postdoctoral position at Newnham College, Cambridge University. During this time I set up the Pied Babbler Research Project in the Kalahari desert. In 2005 I took a postdoctoral position at the University of Cape Town, and then moved to a research position at Macquarie University, Sydney, in 2009. I moved to UWA in 2012 as an ARC Future Fellow.

Future research

My Future Fellowship research involves investigating the long-term population dynamics of two wild, cooperatively breeding bird species. I will use these populations to investigate critical group size effects (i.e. the demographic and behavioural changes that occur when groups become too big or too small).

The research funded by an ARC Discovery grant will investigate group dynamics in the cooperatively breeding Western Australian magpie. A specific aim of this research is to understand how group-living affects the development and expression of cognitive behaviour, and what the consequences of variation in cognitive ability are.

Funding overview

2011 ARC Future Fellowship 'Group dynamics, critical group size effects and population regulation in cooperative breeders'

2014 ARC Discovery Grant 'The benefits of sociality: understanding the relationship between cognition, cooperation and fitness'

Previous positions

2009-2012 Lecturer, Macquarie University
2005-2009 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Cape Town
2004-2005 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Cambridge University

Current projects

Sexual selection in a cooperatively breeding bird with no sexual dimorphism (Pied Babbler Research Project)

Kin recognition behaviour in cooperative species (Pied Babbler Research Project)

Social learning behaviour and the benefits of group size (Arabian babbler Project)

Long-term population dynamics, population regulation and critical group size effects in cooperative breeders (Pied and Arabian Babbler Project)

How should we measure help? How measures of helping behaviour influence conclusions on the causes of cooperation (Pied Babbler Research Project)

The effect of extreme climate events on parental reproductive investment decisions (Pied and Arabian Babbler Research Project)

The relationship between sociality and cognitive ability (Western Magpie Research Project)

The fragile dynamic between intra-group cooperation and conflict (Western Magpie Research Project)

Teaching overview

Wildlife Conservation & Management ANIM3353
Behavioural Ecology ANIM3365
Animal Populations ANIM3361
Level 4/5 Research Project Coordinator, School of Biological Sciences


My main interests lie in the field of behavioural ecology. I am particularly interested in the evolution and dynamics of cooperative breeding behaviour. My research involves understanding the causes of helping behaviour, and the costs and consequences of such behaviour. I have an increasing interest in long-term population dynamics, host-brood parasite interactions in cooperative systems, and the complexity of interspecific interactions. I also work at the interface between behavioural ecology and conservation biology - using behavioural information to provide more informed conservation decisions.


  • Behavioural ecology
  • Evolutionary biology
  • Cooperative breeding
  • Social evolution
  • Conservation and climate change

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Mandy Ridley is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 3 Similar Profiles
cooperatives Agriculture & Biology
breeding Earth & Environmental Sciences
birds Agriculture & Biology
group size Agriculture & Biology
learning Agriculture & Biology
foraging Agriculture & Biology
animal Earth & Environmental Sciences
bird Earth & Environmental Sciences

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Research Output 2006 2019

Chimpanzee feeding ecology and fallback food use in the montane forest of Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda

Matthews, J. K., Ridley, A., Niyigaba, P., Kaplin, B. A. & Grueter, C. C., 1 Apr 2019, In : American Journal of Primatology. 81, 4, e22971.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

feeding ecology
montane forest
montane forests
Pan troglodytes
1 Citation (Scopus)

Investigating the potential for call combinations in a lifelong vocal learner

Walsh, S. L., Townsend, S. W., Morgan, K. & Ridley, A. R., Jun 2019, In : Ethology. p. 362-368

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

animal communication
communications technology

Larger group sizes facilitate the emergence and spread of innovations in a group-living bird

Ashton, B. J., Thornton, A. & Ridley, A. R., Dec 2019, In : Animal Behaviour. 158, p. 1-7 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

group size
1 Citation (Scopus)

Non-invasive measurement of metabolic rates in wild, free-living birds using doubly labelled water

Bourne, A. R., McKechnie, A. E., Cunningham, S. J., Ridley, A. R., Woodborne, S. M. & Karasov, W. H., 1 Jan 2019, In : Functional Ecology. 33, 1, p. 162-174 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

energy expenditure
2 Citations (Scopus)

Non-invasive monitoring of physiological stress in an afrotropical arid-zone passerine bird, the southern pied babbler

Jepsen, E. M., Ganswindt, A., Ngcamphalala, C. A., Bourne, A. R., Ridley, A. R. & McKechnie, A. E., 15 May 2019, In : General and Comparative Endocrinology. 276, p. 60-68 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Physiological Stress
arid zones


Projects 2011 2022


Faculty of Science Excellence Award 2017

Mandy Ridley (Recipient), 4 Dec 2017

Prize: Honorary award


UWA Student Guild's Student Choice Award

Mandy Ridley (Recipient), 2017

Prize: Other distinction