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Personal profile


PhD 2002: Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University
BSc 1996: Organismal Biology, Yale University
DSc 2010: Biological Sciences, University of Auckland
MSc 2011: Psychology, Victoria University of Wellington

Professional Information

I am a professor and behavioral ecologist, conservation scientist, and comparative psychologist, focusing on the evolution of recognition systems, and using land- and seabirds to address questions about how individuals recognize themselves, their mates, their young, their prey, and their predators. Shifting gears between behavioral, developmental, and molecular tools, my lab has been studying the social and genetic consequences of species recognition in avian brood parasites, such as cuckoos and cowbirds. We also explore the cognitive and neurophysiological bases of self/other discrimination critical for the social functioning of individuals, including crowded nests, dense seabird colonies, and even large human settlements. We use comparative and genetic tools, chemical and physical models, and perceptual and mathematical models to understand how individuals make the decisions which are critical for their survival and success, including sexual reproduction.

Research in the Hauber lab (@cowbirdlab on Twitter) in the Department of Evoluition, Ecology, and Behavior at the School of Integrative Biology of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, focuses on the evolution of recognition systems. Shifting gears between behavioral, developmental, physiological, and molecular tools, we are studying the social and genetic consequences of species recognition in avian brood parasites, such as cuckoos, cowbirds, and whydahs, and their hosts. Obligate brood parasitism in birds provides an exciting model system for the evolution of social behaviors because, unlike 99% of bird species, they lay their eggs into nests of other species and are reared by foster parents. Several other projects in the lab tap into national and international collaborations throughout the world of birds, including the unique and often endangered sea- and shorebird fauna of New Zealand, as well as mammals, spiders, and other organisms from around the globe.

Honors & Awards

Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2021)
Fellow, Animal Behavior Society (2019)
Fellow, American Ornithological Society (2013)
Phi Beta Kappa (1996)

Office Address

515 Morrill Hall
505 S. Goodwin Ave
Urbana, IL 61801

Office Phone

(217) 300 7127


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