skip to content

Department of Zoology



I am a first year PhD student supervised by Dr Claire Spottiswoode. 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., 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]

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 of London B 288: 20210326. Read on journal website [Open Access]

Other publications: 

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