This line of research is focused on questions such as how communication within the family works. Chicks "forage" for food without leaving the nest, by modifying the behaviour of their parents with their begging signals. This communication system evolves and operates in the context of parent offspring and inter-sibling conflicts of interest. We work on the theoretical implications and the biological reality of this system. At the moment, our only active projects involving begging are conducted with brood parasites.
Cotton, P.A., Wright, J. & Kacelnik, A. (1999) Chick begging strategies in relation to brood hierarchies and hatching asynchrony. American Naturalist 153, 412-420.
Cotton, P.A.; Kacelnik, A. & Wright, J. (1996) Chick begging as a signal: are nestlings honest?. Behav. Ecol. 7, 178-182.
Kacelnik, A., Cotton, P.A., Stirling, L. & Wright, J. (1995) Food allocation among nestling starlings: sibling competition and the scope for parental choice. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B. 259, 259-263.
Rodriguez-Girones, M.A., Cotton, P. & Kacelnik A. (1996) The evolution of begging: signalling and sibling competition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 93, 14637-14641.
Beauchamp, G; Ens, B.J. & Kacelnik, A. (1991) A dynamic model of allocation of food to nestlings. Behavioral Ecology. 2, 21-37.
Beauchamp, G & Kacelnik, A. (1990) On the fitness functions relating parental care to reproductive value. J. Theor. Biol. 46, 513-522.