Dr Claudia Wascher

Course Leader and Senior Lecturer

Faculty:Faculty of Science & Technology


Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Animal and environmental biology

Claudia, Course Leader for our BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour, is experienced in social cognition and physiology, interested in the evolution of cooperation as well as costs and benefits of social behaviour.

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Claudia conducted her PhD investigating social modulation of heart rate in greylag geese at the Konrad-Lorenz research station in Austria. After her PhD she broadened her expertise in the field of social cognition, investigating cognitive mechanisms underlying cooperation in carrion crows and ravens.

She has held several post-doctoral periods in international labs (CNRS Strasbourg, NTNU Trondheim, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology Seewiesen, University of Valladolid).

Claudia is chair of our Animal and Environmental Biology Group’s Research Ethics Committee and a member of the Faculty of Science and Technology’s Research Ethics Committee.

She is also Deputy Director of our Animal and Environment Research Group.

Spoken Languages



Research interests

  • Social physiology
  • Social cognition
  • Evolution of cooperation
  • Competition in animal groups
  • The role of communication in cooperative interactions

Claudia is Deputy Director of our Animal and Environment Research Group.

Areas of research supervision

Claudia welcomes enquiries from prospective research students in the areas of her research interests.

Current PhD supervision: Denise Hebesberger


BSc (Hons) Animal BehaviourBSc (Hons) Zoology, BSc (Hons) Marine Biology with Conservation and Biodiversity, MSc Animal Behaviour Applications for Conservation


  • PhD Zoology, University of Vienna, Austria
  • MSc Biology and Environmental Science, University of Graz, Austria

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Editorial board member: Avian Biology Research
  • Member, Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour
  • Member, International Society for Behavioural Ecology
  • Member, Ethologische Gesellschaft

Selected recent publications

Frigerio, D., Ludwig, S.C., Hemetsberger, J., Kotrschal, K. & Wascher, C.A.F. (2017). Social and environmental factors modulate leucocyte profiles in free-living Greylag geese (Anser anser). PeerJ 5:e2792; DOI 10.7717/peerj.2792
Frigerio D., Cibulski L., Ludwig S.C., Campderrich I., Kotrschal K. & Wascher C.A.F. (2016). Parasite excretion patterns during the reproductive season in Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita). Journal of Ornithology, 157, pp. 839-851.

Wascher, C.A.F., Hillemann, F., Canestrari, D., and Baglione, V. (2015). Carrion crows learn to discriminate between calls of reliable and unreliable conspecifics. Animal Cognition, 18, pp.1181-1185.

Szipl, G., Boeckle, M., Spreafico, M., Wascher, C.A.F. and Bugnyar, T. (2015) With whom to dine? Common ravens are attracted by yells of affiliates and consider signallers rank. Animal Behaviour, 99, pp.33-42.

Wascher, C.A.F. (2015) Individual performance in socio-cognitive tasks predicts social performance in carrion crows. Behaviour, 152, pp.615–634.

Wascher, C.A.F., Heiss, R., Baglione, V. and Canestrari, D. (2015) Behavioural responses to olfactory cues in social contexts in carrion crows (Corvus corone corone). Behavioural Processes, 111, pp.1-5.       

Dorn, S., Wascher, C.A.F. and Kotrschal, K. (2014) Ambient temperature and air pressure modulate hormones and behavior in Greylag geese (Anser anser) and Northern bald ibis (Geronticus eremita). Behavioural Processes, 108, pp.27-35.

Cibulski, L., Wascher, C.A.F., Weiß, B.M. and Kotrschal, K. (2014). Familiarity with the experimenter influences the performance of Common ravens (Corvus corax) and Carrion crows (Corvus corone corone) in cognitive tasks. Behavioural Processes, 103, pp.129-137.

Hillemann, F., Bugnyar, T., Kotrschal, K. and Wascher, C.A.F. (2014) Waiting for better, not for more: corvids respond to quality in two delay maintenance tasks. Animal Behaviour, 90, 1-10.       

Wascher, C.A.F., Valdez, J.W., Nuñez, C., Baglione, V. and Canestrari, D. (2014) Social factors modulating attention patterns in carrion crows (Corvus corone corone). Behaviour, 151, pp.555-572.

Teschke, I., Wascher, C.A.F., Scriba, M., von Bayern, A., Huml, V., Siemers, B. & Tebbich, S. (2013) Did tool-use evolve with enhanced physical cognitive abilities? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 368.

Wascher, C.A.F. and Bugnyar, T. (2013) Awareness to inequity and working effort in carrion crows (Corvus corone corone) and common ravens (Corvus corax). PLoS ONE, 8, e56885.

Wascher, C.A.F. and Kotrschal, K. (2013) The costs of sociality measured through heart rate modulation. In: The Social Life of Greylag Geese. Patterns, Mechanisms and Evolutionary Function in an Avian Model System, eds. I.B.R. Scheiber, B. Weiß, J. Hemetsberger and K. Kotrschal. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: pp.142-155.

Wascher, C.A.F., Bauer, A.C., Holtmann, A.R. and Kotrschal, K. (2012) Environmental and social factors affecting excretion of intestinal parasite eggs and oocysts in a flock of free-living greylag geese (Anser anser). Behavioral Ecology, 23, pp.1276-1283.

Wascher, C.A.F., Dufour, V. and Bugnyar, T. (2012) Carrion crows cannot overcome impulsive choice in a quantitative exchange task. Frontiers in Comparative Psychology, 3, p.118.

Wascher, C.A.F., Szipl, G., Boeckle, M. and Wilkinson, A. (2012) You sound familiar- Carrion crows can differentiate between the calls of known and unknown heterospecifics. Animal Cognition, 15, pp.1015-1019.

Wascher, C.A.F., Weiß, B.M., Arnold, W. and Kotrschal, K. (2012). Physiological implications of pair-bond status in greylag geese. Biology Letters, 8, 347-350.

Dufour, V., Wascher, C.A.F., Braun, A., Miller, R. and Bugnyar, T. (2012) Corvids can decide if a future exchange is worth waiting for. Biology Letters, 8, pp.201-204.