Image of the field in Soto del Real where our Spotless starlings colony is installed

D´Arpa Stefania R.

Foto de perfil del investigador D´Arpa Stefania R.


I am a PhD student in Ecology with emphasis on evolutionary and behavioral ecology.

I am part of the Behavioral ecology and endocrinology Lab, directed by Diego Gil. Our group studies the interactions between physiology and behavior of songbirds in the wild and the effect such interactions have in evolutionary terms. Our studies species is the Spotless starling (Sturnus unicolor), a polygynic, nonmigratory passerine that nests in cavities.


One of our research topics focuses on maternal effects and on how the hormones mothers deposit in the eggs shape the life history, the morphology and the behavior of the offspring.
My PhD project in particular aims to investigate the blue-gree coloration of starlings' eggs and its ecological significance as a sexual signal in the light of maternal effects, genetic effects, parental care. etc. I am also interested in understandig how the visual system of the birds work and apply visual models to explore how birds perceive colors.



A typical clutch of four eggs in a nicely decorated nest box.
A typical clutch of four eggs in a nicely decorated nest box.