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Institut für Evolutionäre Anthropologie (IEA)

Filipe Cristovão Ribeiro da Cunha


I am an evolutionary biologist with a research focus on the evolution of anti-predatory behavior and its consequences. My research uses field experimental approaches in birds and primates to understand the role of sexual selection on the evolution of anti-predatory behaviors. My projects aim to understand the influence of sex-specific audience effects on mobbing behavior, and to explore the role of anti-predatory behavior as a sexually selected form of cooperation.


Furthermore, I have a deep interest in the evolution of animal communication. Currently, I am conducting a project that aims to understand deception and mechanisms to avoid deception in a social bird species (Siberian jay).

Other Projects

I am a participant in the South-American project: “Know your enemy” that was coordinated by Prof. Dr. Ana Trejo (National University of Comahue), which aims at increasing our insights into predator recognition. This study is conducted in five countries of South America, by members of Búhos Neotropicales: Paula L. Enríquez Rocha (Unidad San Cristóbal), Juan Freile (Project Cuscungo), Alejandro Solano (Imaymana Foundation), Sergio Chaparro-Herrera (Colombian Ornithology Associatoin). I also collaborate with the Prof. Dr. Marcelo Ferreira Vasconcelos group in the Museum of Natural Science Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, investigating the limits of predator recognition, in particular recognition of predator vocalisations.

Other Interests

I am amateur photographer, see some of my photos at:


  • Cunha FCR, Specht GVA, Brites RB. 2014. Owls and Mobbing Behavior: Anecdotal Observations. Journal of Life Sciences: 7(11):1203-1207.
  • Cunha FCR, Pinto LCL, Braga CAC, Silva HSE, Specht GVA, Leite L. 2012. Widening the distribution range of the Uniform Finch Haplospiza unicolor Cabanis, 1851, in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Ornithologia (CEMAVE/IBAMA): 1:34-35.
  • Carvalho Filho EPM, Lisboa JS, Cunha FCR, Carvalho GDM, Diniz MG, Vasconcelos MF, Garcia FI, Carvalho CEA, Silva e Silva R, Alves L, Moreira RS. 2011. New records of Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Cotinga (Sandy), 34:102-104.
  • Cunha FCR, Vasconcelos MF, Specht GVA. 2009. Alerta Vermelho! Caburé na Área! Ciência Hoje: 43: 26-29.
  • Cunha FCR, Vasconcelos MF. 2009. Aves que são atraídas pela vocalização do caburé Glaucidium brasilianum (Strigidae). Ararajuba: 17:144-149.
  • Specht GVA, Cunha FCR, Akaki G. 2008. Observações sobre o comportamento reprodutivo do pavó, Pyroderus scutatus (Shaw, 1792) (Aves: Cotingidae), em Antônio Dias, Minas Gerais. Atualidades Ornitológicas: 143:10-11.
  • Vasconcelos MF, D´Angelo Neto S, Cunha FCR. 2008. The juvenile of the Rufous-faced Crake Laterallus xenopterus. Cotinga (Sandy): 30: 51-53.


Jan 2013 - Present PhD student in Evolutionary Ecology - Behavioural Ecology, Anthropological Institute, University of Zurich
2010 - 2012 M.Sc. in Ecology of Tropical Biomes, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto (Federal University of Ouro Preto), Ouro Preto, Brazil.
2005 - 2008 Licentiate and Bachelor in Biological Sciences, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais (Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais), Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

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Filipe Cristovao


Filipe Cristovao de Ribeira
Anthropological Institute and Museum
Office Y42-K-66
University of Zürich - Irchel
Winterthurerstrasse 190
CH-8057 Zürich

Phone: +41 (0)44 635 54 34