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Fellows Directory

Nicholas Davies

Professor Nicholas Davies FRS


Elected: 1994


Nick Davies is a zoologist, whose books with John Krebs helped to define the field of behavioural ecology. He is well known for his long-term field studies of birds. His studies of mating systems in dunnocks linked detailed observations of individual behaviour to reproductive success, using DNA profiles to assess parenthood. He showed how sexual conflict led to variable mating system outcomes, including monogamy, polygyny, polyandry and polygynandry.

He currently studies the interactions between cuckoos and their hosts, and his field experiments have revealed a continuing evolutionary ‘arms race’ of adaptation and counter-adaptation between these brood parasites and their foster parents.

Nick has received a number of awards in recognition of his work, including the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour Medal in 1996. He also received the Frink Medal of the Zoological Society of London in 2001, and the Croonian Medal and Lecture of the Royal Society in 2015.

Interests and expertise

Subject groups


Behavioural ecology.


  • Croonian Medal and Lecture

    For his work on the co-evolved responses of brood parasitic cuckoos and their hosts, the process of co-evolution and adaptation and the extraordinary biology of these unusual birds.