Mandy Ridley

Associate Professor, PhD Camb.

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

    6009 Perth


  • 1681 Citations
  • 26 h-Index

Research output per year

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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.

Research expertise keywords

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

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Research Output

Australian magpies adjust their alarm calls according to predator distance

Dutour, M., Walsh, S. L. & Ridley, A. R., 19 Aug 2020, In : Bioacoustics.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Compensatory Breeding in Years Following Drought in a Desert-Dwelling Cooperative Breeder

    Bourne, A. R., Cunningham, S. J., Spottiswoode, C. N. & Ridley, A. R., 30 Jun 2020, In : Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 8, 190.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 2 Citations (Scopus)

    Females sing more often and at higher frequencies than males in Australian magpies

    Dutour, M. & Ridley, A. R., Mar 2020, In : Behavioural Processes. 172, 104045.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • High temperatures drive offspring mortality in a cooperatively breeding bird

    Bourne, A., Cunningham, S., Spottiswoode, C. & Ridley, M., 29 Jul 2020, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: series B. 287, 1931, 9 p., 20201140.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 2 Citations (Scopus)

    Intragroup Behavioral Changes Following Intergroup Conflict in Mountain Gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei)

    Mirville, M. O., Ridley, A. R., Samedi, J. P. M., Vecellio, V., Ndagijimana, F., Stoinski, T. S. & Grueter, C. C., 1 Apr 2020, In : International Journal of Primatology. 41, 2, p. 382-400 19 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 2 Citations (Scopus)




    Faculty of Science Excellence Award 2017

    Ridley, Mandy (Recipient), 4 Dec 2017

    Prize: Honorary award

    UWA Student Guild's Student Choice Award

    Ridley, Mandy (Recipient), 2017

    Prize: Other distinction

  • Press / Media

    Magpie swooping behaviour

    Mandy Ridley


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Press / Media

    Even desert adapted birds in the Kalahari cannot cope with a warming climate

    Amanda Bourne, Susan Cunningham, Claire N. Spottiswoode & Mandy Ridley


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Press / Media

    Male and female magpies have different warbles

    Mandy Ridley


    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Press / Media

    Magpie song research reveals difference between the sexes

    Mandy Ridley


    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Press / Media