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

    6009 Perth


  • 1239 Citations
  • 23 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 Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

  • 2 Similar Profiles
cooperatives Agriculture & Biology
breeding Earth & Environmental Sciences
learning Earth & Environmental Sciences
foraging Agriculture & Biology
Gorilla Agriculture & Biology
birds Agriculture & Biology
group size Agriculture & Biology
begging behavior Earth & Environmental Sciences

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Projects 2011 2016

Research Output 2006 2018

4 Citations

An intraspecific appraisal of the social intelligence hypothesis

Ashton, B. J., Thornton, A. & Ridley, A. R., 26 Sep 2018, In : Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 373, 1756, 20170288.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Open Access
Emotional Intelligence
Genetic Fitness
17 Citations

Cognitive performance is linked to group size and affects fitness in Australian magpies

Ashton, B. J., Ridley, A. R., Edwards, E. K. & Thornton, A., 15 Feb 2018, In : Nature. 554, 7692, p. 364-367

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

Factors influencing individual participation during intergroup interactions in mountain gorillas

Mirville, M. O., Ridley, A. R., Samedi, J. P. M., Vecellio, V., Ndagijimana, F., Stoinski, T. S. & Grueter, C. C., 1 Oct 2018, In : Animal Behaviour. 144, p. 75-86 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

affiliative behavior
7 Citations

Individual dispersal delays in a cooperative breeder: Ecological constraints, the benefits of philopatry and the social queue for dominance

Nelson-Flower, M. J., Wiley, E. M., Flower, T. P. & Ridley, A. R., 1 Aug 2018, In : Journal of Animal Ecology. 87, 5, p. 1227-1238

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

social dominance
cooperative breeding

Internal acoustic structuring in pied babbler recruitment cries specifies the form of recruitment

Engesser, S., Ridley, A. R., Manser, M. B., Manser, A. & Townsend, S. W., 10 Sep 2018, In : Behavioral Ecology. 29, 5, p. 1021-1030 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



Data from: Cognitive performance is linked to group size and affects fitness in Australian magpies

Ashton, B. J. (Creator), Ridley, A. (Creator), Edwards, E. K. (Creator), Thornton, A. (Creator), Dryad Digital Repository, 7 Feb 2018



Faculty of Science Excellence Award 2017

Amanda Ridley (Recipient), 4 Dec 2017

Prize/award: Honorary award


UWA Student Guild's Student Choice Award

Amanda Ridley (Recipient), 2017

Prize/award: Other distinction