Dr. Claudia Mettke-Hofmann

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

Academic Profile:

2008 – 2010: Postgraduate Certificate for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Liverpool John Moores University, UK
2007 - Present: School of Natural Sciences & Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University
2006 – 2012: Smithsonian Research Associate, Dept. of Conservation Biology, at the National Zoological Park, Washington DC
1990 – 1993: PhD in Life Sciences (external). Free University of Berlin and Max-Planck-Institute of Behavioural Physiology, Radolfzell.
1990: BSc equivalent, Biology. Free University of Berlin.

Previous Posts:

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.


I am module leader for ‘Control & Perception’ on level 2 and ‘Animal Learning and Cognition’ and ‘Behaviour and Welfare of Captive Animals’ on level 3. I am further teaching on ‘Animal Behaviour and Welfare’ (level 2) and ‘Functional Morphology’ (level 3).

I supervise a variety of undergraduate projects related to animal behaviour of mammals and birds. However, my main focus lies with birds.

Research Interests:

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 (personality traits) 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 and physiological methods.

Study animals:

I have worked with a variety of parrot species (>80 species) and, more recently, with old-world (warblers, tits, chats) and new-world songbirds (icterids). Currently, the Gouldian finch is my study subject.

Research Projects:

  • Neophobia in resident and migratory songbirds
  • Personality traits in birds
  • Assessing habitat requirements of the strongly declining Rusty blackbird

PhD students:

  • Leah J. Williams Leadership and personality traits in the Gouldian finch (Erythrura gouldiae); in collaboration with Dr. Andrew J. King, Structure and Motion Laboratory, Royal Veterinary College, University of London; (funded by the School of Natural Sciences & Psychology with HEFCE research allocation)
  • Christina Stanley A Study of Equid Sociality: its structure, complexity and the influence of individuals; in collaboration with Dr. Susanne Shultz, Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin’s Fellow, Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford
  • Yvette L. Foulds The effectiveness of mixed species aviaries in terms of bird breeding and survival within zoological collections; in collaboration with Dr. Roger Wilkinson, Conservation Division, Chester Zoo
  • Madeleine Scriba Sleep and learning in birds; Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Sleep and Flight group, Seewiesen, Germany; (External supervisor)


View Publications List


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 09 February 2012.

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