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Department of Zoology



I recently submitted my PhD, supervised by Dr Claire Spottiswoode, and am about to start a Junior Research Fellowship at Jesus College, Cambridge. My research interests centre on brood parasitism in birds. I have carried out fieldwork in Africa (South Africa and Zambia), the Americas (Trinidad and Panama) and in the UK. 


My research focuses on the cuckoo finch Anomalospiza imberbis, which parasitizes several warblers in the family Cisticolidae. I conduct fieldwork in Choma, Zambia, where many aspects of brood parasite-host interactions have been studied. I focus on egg rejection behaviour in hosts and egg mimicry in parasites, aiming to understand the details and evolution of these complex behaviours and adaptations. Please see my profile on for more information.


Key publications: 

Dixit, T., Choi, G.P.T., al-Mosleh, S.A., Lund, J., Troscianko, J., Moya, C., Mahadevan, L. & Spottiswoode, C.N. 2023. Combined measures of mimetic fidelity explain imperfect mimicry in a brood parasite–host system. Biology Letters. 19(2): 20220538.

Dixit, T., Apostol, A.L., Chen, K.-C., Fulford, A.J.C., Town, C.P. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2022). Visual complexity of egg patterns predicts egg rejection according to Weber’s law. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 289: 20220710.

Dixit, T., Caves, E.M., Spottiswoode, C.N. & Horrocks, N.P.C. (2021) Why and how to apply Weber’s Law to coevolution and mimicry. Evolution doi:10.1111/evo.14290 Read on journal website [Open Access]

Lund, J., Dixit, T., Attwood, M.C., Hamama, S., Moya, C., Stevens, M., Jamie, G.A. & Spottiswoode, C.N.. 2023. When perfection isn’t enough: host egg signatures are an effective defence against high-fidelity African cuckoo mimicry. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 290: 20231125.

Caves, E.M., Dixit, T., Colebrook-Robjent, J.F.R., Hamusikili, L., Stevens, M., Thorogood, R. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2021) Hosts elevate either within-clutch consistency or between-clutch distinctiveness of egg phenotypes in defence against brood parasites. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 288: 20210326. Read on journal website [Open Access]

Other publications: 

McClelland, S.C., Attard, M.R.G., Bowen, J, Horrocks, N.P.C., Jamie, G.A., Dixit, T., Spottiswoode, C.N., Portugal, S.J., 2023. Eggshell composition and surface properties of avian brood-parasitic species compared with non-parasitic species. R. Soc. Open Sci. 10: 221023.

Cram, D.L., van der Wal, J.E.M., Uomini, N.T., Cantor, M., Afan, A.I., Attwood, M.C., Amphaeris, J., Balasani, F., Blair, C.J., Bronstein, J.L., Buanachique, I.O., Cuthill, R.R.T., Das, J., Daura-Jorge, F.G., Deb, A., Dixit, T., Dlamini, G.S., Dounias, E., Gedi, I.I., Gruber, M., Hoffman, L.S., Holzlehner, T., Isack, H.A., Laltaika, A.E., Lloyd-Jones, D.J., Lund, J., Machado, A.M.S., Mahadevan, L., Moreno, I.B., Nwaogu, C.J., Pereira, V.L., Pierotti, R., Rucunua, S.A., dos Santos, W.F., Serpa, N., Smith, B.D., Sridhar, H., Tolkova, I., Tun, T., Valle-Pereira, J.V.S., Wood, B.M., Wrangham, R.W. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2022) The ecology and evolution of human-wildlife cooperation. People and Nature. 1-15.

van der Wal, J.E.M., Spottiswoode, C.N., Uomini, N.T., Cantor, M., Daura-Jorge, F.G., Afan, A.I., Attwood, M.C., Amphaeris, J., Balasani, F., Begg, C.M., Blair, C.J., Bronstein, J.L., Buanachique, I.O., Cuthill, R.R.T., Das, J., Deb, A., Dixit, T., Dlamini, G.S., Dounias, E., Gedi, I.I., Gruber, M., Hoffman, L.S., Holzlehner, T., Isack, H.A., Laltaika, A.E., Lloyd-Jones, D.J., Lund, J., Machado, A.M.S., Mahadevan, L., Moreno, I.B., Nwaogu, C.J., Pereira, V.L., Pierotti, R., Rucunua, S.A., dos Santos, W.F., Serpa, N., Smith, B.D., Tolkova, I., Tun, T., Valle-Pereira, J.V.S., Wood, B.M., Wrangham, R.W. & Cram, D.L. (2022) Safeguarding human-wildlife cooperation. Conservation Letters. e12886.

McClelland, S. C., Reynolds, M., Cordall, M., Hauber, M. E., Goymann, W., McClean, L. A., Hamama, S., Lund, J., Dixit, T., Louder, M. I. M., Safari, I., Honza, M., Spottiswoode, C. N., Portugal, S. J. (2021). Embryo movement is more frequent in avian brood parasites than birds with parental reproductive strategies. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 288:20211137. Read on journal website [Open Access]

Dixit, T.*, Riederer, J.M.*, Quek, S., Belford, K., Tavares de Wand, T., Sicat, R. & Jiggins, C.D. (2020) Plasticity in flower size as an adaptation to variation in pollinator specificity. Ecological Entomology 45: 1367-1372. Read on journal website [Open Access]

Sorensen, M.C., Dixit, T., Newton, J., Kardynal, K., Hobson, K., Bensch, S., Jenni-Eiereman, S. & Spottiswoode, C.N. (2019) Migration distance does not predict blood parasitism in a Palearctic-African migratory bird. Ecology and Evolution 9: 8294-8304. Read on journal website [Open Access]

Pickup, M., Brandvain, Y., Fraïsse, C., Yakimowski, S., Barton, N.H., Dixit, T., Lexer, C., Cereghetti, E. & Field, D.L. (2019) Mating system variation in hybrid zones: facilitation, barriers and asymmetries to gene flow. New Phytologist 224: 1035-1047. Read on journal website [Open Access]

Dixit, T., English, S. & Lukas, D. (2017), The relationship between egg size and helper number in cooperative breeders: a meta-analysis across species. PeerJ 5:e4028. Read on journal website [Open Access]


PhD Student