Dr. Claudia Mettke-Hofmann

Dr. Claudia Mettke-Hoffman
Job Title Lecturer in Animal Behaviour
Telephone +44 (0)151 231 2247
Email Address C.C.Mettke-Hofmann@ljmu.ac.uk
Contact Address Room 346a,
James Parsons Building,
Byrom Street,
L3 3AF

Academic Profile

  • 2007 -  present School of Biological and Earth Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University

  • 2006 – 2009 Smithsonian Research Associate, Dept. of Conservation Biology, at the National Zoological Park, Washington DC

  • 2005 – 2006 Scientific research position: Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Dept. of Biological Rhythms and Behaviour, Andechs

  • 2004 – 2005 Smithsonian Fellowship: Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, Washington DC

  • 2000 – 2004 Scientific research position: Max Planck Research Centre for Ornithology, Dept. of Biological Rhythms and Behaviour, Andechs

  • 1997 – 1999 Post Doctoral Fellow: Max Planck Research Centre for Ornithology, Department of Biological Rhythms and Behaviour, Andechs.

  • 1994 – 1997 Post Doctoral Fellow (external): Institute of Behavioural Biology, Free University of Berlin, Max-Planck-Institute of Behavioural Physiology, Radolfzell, and Konrad-Lorenz Institute for Comparative Ethology, Vienna.

  • 1990 – 1993 PhD in Life Sciences (external). Free University of Berlin, Institute of Behavioural Biology, and Max-Planck-Institute of Behavioural Physiology, Radolfzell.

  • 1990  Diploma of biology. Free University of Berlin, Institute of Behavioural Biology.


I currently teach level 2 and 3 modules in Animal Behaviour.


My research field is the ‘Evolution of Cognitive Abilities in Birds’. My main interest is in the interaction between behaviour and ecology, particularly cognitive ecology. I investigate how evolutionary forces such as ecological factors, social organization, and life-style have shaped information gathering, learning, and memory on the species, population and individual (coping styles) level. My research involves basic as well as applied research (animal welfare, conservation). I use cost/benefit considerations to predict cognitive differences on the species to the individual level and integrate behavioural, physiological, and neurobiological methods.

Research projects:

  • Neophobia in resident and migratory songbirds
  • Personality traits in residents and migrants
  • Stress reactions in habitat specialists and generalists
  • Assessing habitat requirements of the strongly declining Rusty blackbird

Study animals:

I have worked with a variety of parrot species (>70 species) and, more recently, with old-world and new-world songbirds.


A) Publications in peer reviewed journals and books:

Mettke-Hofmann, C. (2007): Context-specific neophilia and its consequences for innovations. Behavioral & Brain Sciences 30(5) in press.

Mettke-Hofmann, C.  2007: Object exploration of garden and Sardinian warblers peaks in spring. Ethology 113: 174-182.

Mettke-Hofmann, C., K. Rowe, T. Hayden & V. Canoine 2006: Effects of experience and object complexity on exploration in garden warblers (Sylvia borin). J. Zool. 268: 405-413.

Mettke-Hofmann, C., C. Ebert, T. Schmidt, S. Steiger & S. Stieb 2005: Personality traits in resident and migratory warbler species. Behaviour 142: 1357-1375.

Mettke-Hofmann, C. & R. Greenberg, 2005: Behavioral and cognitive adaptations to long-distance migration. In: Birds of two Worlds: The Ecology and Evolution of Migratory Birds. (eds. R. Greenberg & P.P. Marra). Johns Hopkins University Press. 114-123.

Mettke-Hofmann, C., M. Wink, H. Winkler & B. Leisler 2005: Exploration of environmental changes relates to lifestyle. Behavioral Ecology 16 (1): 247-254.

Mettke-Hofmann, C, & E. Gwinner 2004: Differential assessment of environmental information in a migratory and a non-migratory passerine. Animal Behaviour 68 (5): 1079-1086.

Mettke-Hofmann, C. & E. Gwinner. 2003 Long-term memory for a life on the move. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100: 5863-5866.

>>  With accompanying features in Science (2003, 300, p. 1343)

>> evaluated and recommended by Faculty 1000

Mettke-Hofmann, C., H. Winkler & B. Leisler 2002 The significance of ecological factors for exploration and neophobia in parrots. Ethology, 108: 249-272.

Mettke-Hofmann, C. & G. Hofmann 2002 Breeding success and colour of nest lining material - is there a relationship? In: Bird Research and Breeding. Mettke-Hofmann, C. & Gansloßer, U. (eds.). Filander Verlag, Fürth. 137-152.

Thaler, E., K. Pegoraro & C. Mettke-Hofmann 2002 The influence of controlled imprinting on the behaviour of hand-raised birds. In: Bird Research and Breeding. Mettke-Hofmann, C. & Gansloßer, U.(eds.). Filander Verlag, Fürth. 125-136.

Greenberg, R. & C. Mettke-Hofmann 2001 Ecological aspects of neophobia and neophilia in birds. Current Ornithology, 16: 119-178.

Mettke-Hofmann, C. 2000 Changes in exploration from courtship to the breeding state in red-rumped parrots (Psephotus haematonotus). Behavioural Processes 49: 139-148.

Mettke-Hofmann, C. 2000 Reactions of nomadic and resident parrot species Psittacidae to environmental enrichment at the Max-Planck-Institut. Int. Zoo Yearbook, Vol. 37: 244-256.

Mettke-Hofmann, C. 1999 Niche expansion and exploratory behaviour on islands - are they linked? In: Proc. 22 Int. Ornithol. Congr. Durban, (Eds.) N.J. Adams, R.H. Slotow. Johannesburg: Bird Life South Africa, 1999: 878-885.

Mettke, C. 1995         Explorationsverhalten von Papageien – Adaptation an die Umwelt? J. Orn. 136: 468-471.

Mettke, C. 1995          Ecology and environmental enrichment – The example of Parrots; In: Research and Captive Propagation, eds.: U. Gansloßer, J.K. Hodges & W. Kaumanns: 257-262.

B) Books:

Van den Elzen, R., G. Hofmann & C. Mettke-Hofmann 2007. Prachtfinken (Estrildian Finches). Vol. 2 Afrika (eds. J. Nicolai & J. Steinbacher). Ulmer Verlag, Stuttgart.

Mettke-Hofmann, C. & U. Gansloßer (eds.) 2002 Bird Research and Breeding. Filander Verlag, Fürth.


Page last modified 22 January 2008.

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