András Liker


András Liker

2017 – present: MTA-PE Evolutionary Ecology Research Group, group leader

2011 – present: Professor, University of Pannonia, Veszprém, Hungary
2011-2013: Marie Curie Research Fellow, University of Sheffield, UK
2003 – 2011: Associate Professor, University of Pannonia, Veszprém, Hungary
1997 – 2002: Research fellow, Szent István University, Budapest, Hungary
1992 – 1996: PhD student, University of Debrecen, Hungary
1986 – 1991: Graduate student, University of Szeged, Hungary


Behaviour of sparrows:
House sparrows (Passer domesticus) live in a variety of habitats, from rural farms to city centers. In our current projects we investigate the effects of habitat urbanization on sparrows’ behaviour, e.g. problem solving and response to novelty and predation hazard. We also study the fitness consequences of variation in problem solving both in the lab and in the wild. In these projects I work together with Dr. Veronika Bókony, Dr. Ádám Z. Lendvai, Krisztián Szabó, Prof. Zoltán Barta and Dr. Zsolt Pénzes. Many of our studies are conducted in the Zoo of Veszprém.

Waterfowl migration on Lake Balaton:
Large number of ducks, geese and other waterbirds migrate and winter on Lake Balaton (the largest lake in Hungary) and the surrounding wetlands. Using ringing and monitoring data, we investigate the sources of birds wintering on Lake Balaton, and the effects of habitat characteristics on their population size and spatial distribution. [with Katalin Pap and Dr. Lajos Nagy, Balaton Uplands National Park]

Comparative studies:
We use phylogenetic comparative methods to test various evolutionary hypotheses related to reproduction and life history in birds. Currently we investigate how ecological and social factors affect parental behaviour in a wide taxonomic range of birds. In earlier work we showed the effects of sexual selection on egg size, mortality, coloration and parental care, and provided the first demonstration that increases in brain size coevolved with higher survival rates. [with Prof. Rob Freckleton, Prof. Tamas Székely and Dr. Veronika Bókony]

Recent grants and awards:

Hungarian Academi of Sciences research group grant (No. 1600, PI), 2017-2022
NKFIH research grant (No. K112838, PI), 2014-2018
Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship, 2011-2013
OTKA research grant (Hungarian National Science Foundation, No. K 84132, PI), 2011-2014
OTKA research grant (No. K72827, PI), 2008-2011
Bolyai János Research Fellowship from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 2006-2007
OTKA research grant (No. T047256, PI), 2004-2007
NKFP research grant (3B022/04, co-investigator; PI: Prof. Judit Padisak), 2004-2007
Royal Society Joint Project (Hungarian project leader; PI: Prof. Tamas Szekely), 2003
OTKA research grant (No. T043390, co-investigator; PI: Prof. Tamas Szekely), 2003
Eötvös Scholarship of the Hungarian State, 2002
NATO Science Fellowship, 2002
Békésy György Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, 2001-2004
Bolyai János Research Fellowship from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 1999-2001
OTKA research grant (No. T030434, co-investigator; PI: Dr. Zoltan Barta), 1999
OTKA research grant, Budapest (No. F026595, PI), 1998-2001


Department of Limnology, University of Pannonia
Pf. 158, H-8201, Veszprém, Hungary
Tel.: +36 88 624249
Fax: +36 88 624747
e-mail: aliker[at], andras.liker[at]


Reprints from here.

Bókony, V., Pipoly, I., Szabó, K., Preiszner, B., Vincze, E., Papp, S., Seress, G., Hammer  H. & Liker, A. 2017. Innovative females are more promiscuous in great tits (Parus major). Behavioral Ecology, DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arx001.

Mónus, F., Liker, A., Pénzes, Z. & Barta, Z. 2017. Status signalling in male but not in female Eurasian Tree Sparrows Passer montanus. Ibis 159: 180-192.

Preiszner, B., Papp, S., Pipoly, I., Seress, G., Vincze, E.,  Liker, A. & Bókony, V. 2017. Problem-solving performance and reproductive success of great tits in urban and forest habitats. Animal Cognition 20: 53-63.

Vincze, E., Papp, S., Preiszner, B., Seress, G., Bókony, V. & Liker, A. 2016. Habituation to human disturbance is faster in urban than rural house sparrows. Behavioral Ecology 27: 1304-1313.

Remeš, V., Freckleton, R. P., Tökölyi, J., Liker, A. & Székely, T. 2015. The evolution of parental cooperation in birds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 112: 13603–13608.

Pipoly, I., Bókony, V., Kirkpatrick, M., Donald, P., Székely, T., Liker, A. 2015. The genetic sex-determination system predicts adult sex ratios in tetrapods, Nature 527: 91–94.

Liker, A., Freckleton, R.P., Remeš, V. & Székely, T. 2015. Sex differences in parental care: Gametic investment, sexual selection, and social environment. Evolution 69: 2862-2875.

Rubolini, D., Liker, A., Garamszegi, L.Z., Møller, A.P. & Saino, N. 2015. Using the website to obtain robust phylogenies for avian comparative studies: A primer. Current Zoology 61: 959-965, 2015.

Preiszner, B., Papp, S., Vincze, E., Bókony, V. & Liker, A. 2015. Does innovation success influence social interactions? An experimental test in house sparrows. Ethology 121: 661-673.

Papp, S., Vincze, E., Preiszner, B., Liker, A. & Bókony, V. 2015. A comparison of problem-solving success between urban and rural house sparrows. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 69: 471-480.

Vincze, E., Papp, S., Preiszner, B., Seress, G., Liker, A. & Bókony, V. 2015.
Does urbanization facilitate individual recognition of humans by house sparrows?
Animal Cognition 18: 291-298.

Seress, G& Liker, A. 2015. Habitat urbanization and its effects on birds. Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 61: 373-408.

Barta, Z., Székely, T., Liker, A. & Harrison, F. 2014. Social role specialization promotes cooperation between parents. American Naturalist 6: 747-761.

Székely, T., Liker, A., Freckleton, R., Fichtel, C. & Kappeler, P. 2014. Sex-biased survival predicts adult sex ratio variation in wild birds. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281: 1788

Liker, A., Freckleton, R.P. & Székely T. 2014. Divorce and Infidelity Are Associated with Skewed Adult Sex Ratios in Birds. Current Biology 24: 880–884.

Westneat, D. F., Bókony, V., Burke, T., Chastel, O., Jensen, H., Kvalnes, T., Lendvai, Á.Z., Liker, A., Mock, D., Schroeder, J., Schwagmeyer, P.L., Sorci, G. & Stewart, I.R.K. 2014. Multiple aspects of plasticity in clutch size vary among populations of a globally-distributed songbird. Journal of Animal Ecology 83: 876–887.

Bókony, V., Lendvai, Á.Z., Vágási, I.Cs., Pătraş, L., Pap, P.L., Németh, J., Vincze, E., Papp, S., Preiszner, B., Seress, G. & Liker, A. 2014. Necessity or capacity? Physiological state predicts problem-solving performance in house sparrows. Behavioral Ecology 25: 124-135.

Pipoly, I., Bókony, V., Seress, G., Szabó, K. & Liker, A. 2013 Effects of Extreme Weather on Reproductive Success in a Temperate-Breeding Songbird. PLoS ONE 8(11): e80033. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080033

Pap, K., Nagy, L., Balogh, C., G-Tóth, L. & Liker, A. 2013. Environmental factors shaping the distribution of common wintering waterbirds in a lake ecosystem with developed shoreline. Hydrobiologia 716: 163-176.

J. Schroeder, H. L. Dugdale, R. Radersma, M. Hinsch, D. M. Buehler, J. Saul, L. Porter, A. Liker et al. 2013. Fewer invited talks by women in evolutionary biology symposia. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 26: 2063–2069.

Székely, T., Remeš, V., Freckleton, R.P. & Liker, A. 2013. Why care? Inferring the evolution of complex social behaviour. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 26: 1381–1391.

Liker A., Freckleton R.P. & Székely T. 2013. The evolution of sex roles in birds is related to adult sex ratio. Nature Communications 4: Article number 1587.

Seress G., Bókony V., Pipoly I., Szép T., Nagy K. & Liker A. 2012. Urbanization, nestling growth and reproductive success in a moderately declining house sparrow population. Journal of Avian Biology 43: 1-12.

Bókony V., Kulcsár A., Tóth Z. & Liker A. 2012. Personality Traits and Behavioral Syndromes in Differently Urbanized Populations of House Sparrows (Passer domesticus). PLoS ONE 7(5): e36639.

Bókony V., Seress G., Nagy S., Lendvai Á.Z. & Liker A. 2012. Multiple indices of body condition reveal no negative effect of urbanization in adult house sparrows. Landscape and Urban Planning 104: 75-84.

Seress, G., Bókony, V., Heszberger, J. & Liker, A. 2011. Response to predation risk in urban and rural house sparrows. Ethology 117: 896-907.

Pipoly I., Bókony V. & Liker A. 2011. Hogyan befolyásolja az időjárás a házi verebek (Passer domesticus) fiókaetetési viselkedését? Állattani Közlemények 96(1-2): 97-111. [in Hungarian]

Bókony, V., Kulcsár, A. & Liker, A. 2010. Does urbanization select for weak competitors in house sparrows? Oikos 119: 437-444.

Liker, A. & Bókony, V. 2009. Larger groups are more successful in innovative problem solving in house sparrows. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 106: 7893-7898.

Liker, A., Bókony, V., Kulcsár, A., Tóth, Z., Szabó, K., Kaholek, B. & Pénzes, Z. 2009. Genetic relatedness in wintering groups of house sparrows (Passer domesticus). Molecular Ecology 18: 4696–4706.

Tóth, Z., Bókony, V., Lendvai, Á.Z., Szabó, K., Pénzes, Z. & Liker A. 2009. Effects of relatedness on social foraging tactic use in house sparrows. Animal Behaviour 77: 337–342.

Tóth, Z., Bókony, V., Lendvai, Á.Z., Szabó, K., Pénzes, Z. & Liker A. 2009. Kinship and aggression: do house sparrows spare their relatives? Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 63: 1189-1196.

Tóth, Z., Bókony, V., Lendvai, Á.Z., Szabó, K., Pénzes, Z. & Liker A. 2009. Whom do the sparrows follow? The effect of kinship on social preference in house sparrow flocks. Behavioural Processes 82: 173-177.

Bókony, V., Lendvai, Á.Z., Liker, A., Angelier, F., Wingfield, J.C. & Chastel, O. 2009. Stress response and the value of reproduction: are birds prudent parents? American Naturalist 173: 589-598.

Liker, A. & Nagy, L. 2009. Migration of mallards in Hungary: migration phenology, the origin of migrants, and long-term changes. Ringing & Migration 24: 259-265.

Liker, A., Papp, Z., Bókony, V. & Lendvai, Á.Z. 2008. Lean birds in the city: body size and condition of house sparrows along the urbanization gradient. Journal of Animal Ecology 77: 789–795.

Szabó, K., Szalmás, A., Liker, A. & Barta, Z. 2008. Adaptive host-abandonment of ectoparasites before fledging? Within-brood distribution of nest mites in house sparrow broods. Journal of Parasitology 94: 1038–1043.

Kingma, S.A., Szentirmai, I., Székely ,T., Bókony, V., Bleeker, M., Liker, A. & Komdeur, J. 2008. Sexual selection and the function of a melanin-based plumage ornament in polygamous penduline tits Remiz pendulinus. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 62: 1277–1288.

Bókony, V. , Garamszegi, L.Z., Hirschenhauser, K. & Liker, A. 2008. Testosterone and melanin-based black plumage coloration in birds. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 62: 1229–1238.

Bókony, V., Liker, A. Lendvai, Á.Z. & Kulcsár, A. 2008. Risk-taking and survival in the House Sparrow Passer domesticus: are plumage ornaments costly? Ibis 150: 139-151.

Olson, V.A., Liker, A., Freckleton, R.P. & Székely, T. 2008. The strength of parental conflict in birds: testing the roles of offspring development, ecology, and mating opportunities. Proceedings of the Royal Society London B. 275: 301-307.

Sol, D., Székely, T., Liker, A. & Lefebvre, L. 2007. Big-brained birds survive better in nature. Proceedings of the Royal Society London B. 274: 763-769.

Seress, G., Szabó, K., Nagy, D., Liker, A. & Pénzes, Z. 2007. Extra-pair paternity of Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) in a semi-urban population. Tiscia 36: 17-21.

Lendvai, Á.Z., Liker, A. & Barta, Z. 2006. The effects of energy reserves and dominance on the use of social foraging strategies in the house sparrow. Animal Behaviour 72: 747-964.

Bókony, V., Lendvai, Á.Z. & Liker, A. 2006. Multiple cues in status signalling: the role of wingbars in aggressive interactions of male house sparrows. Ethology 112: 947–954.

Bókony, V. & Liker, A. 2005. Melanin-based black plumage coloration is related to reproductive investment in cardueline finches. Condor 107: 775–787.

Liker, A. & Székely, T. 2005. Mortality costs of sexual selection and parental care in natural populations of birds. Evolution 59: 890-­897.

Szentirmai, I., Székely, T. & Liker, A. 2005. The influence of nest quality on heat loss of Penduline Tit eggs. Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 51: 59-66.

Lendvai, Á., Barta, Z., Liker, A. & Bókony, V. 2004. The effect of energy reserves on social foraging: hungry sparrows scrounge more. Proceedings of the Royal Society London B. 271: 2467-2472.

Barta, Z., Liker, A. & Mónus, F. 2004. The effects of predation hazard on the use of social foraging tactics. Animal Behaviour 67: 301-308.

Torda, G., Liker, A. & Barta, Z. 2004. Dominance hierarchy and status signalling in captive tree sparrow (Passer montanus) flocks. Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 50: 35-44.

Lendvai, Á., Liker, A. & Kis, J. 2004. Male badge size is related to clutch volume in the Kentish Plover. Ornis Hungarica 14: 15-21.

Bókony, V., Liker, A., Székely, T. & Kis, J. 2003. Melanin-based plumage colouration and flight displays in plovers and allies. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London, B 270: 2491-2497.

Liker, A. & Barta, Z. 2002. The effects of dominance on social foraging tactic use in house sparrows. Behaviour 139: 1061-1076.

Szabó, K., Szalmás, A., Liker, A. & Barta, Z. 2002. Effects of haematophagous mites on nestling house sparrows (Passer domesticus). Acta Parasitologica 47: 318-322.

Liker, A., Reynolds, J.D. & Székely, T. 2001. The evolution of egg size in socially polyandrous shorebirds. Oikos 95: 3-14.

Liker, A., Márkus, M., Vozár, Á., Zemankovics, E. & Rózsa, L. 2001. Distribution of Carnus hemapterus in a starling colony. Canadian Journal of Zoology 79: 574-580.

Liker, A. & Barta, Z. 2001. Male badge size predicts dominance against females in house sparrows. Condor 103: 151-157.

Kis, J., Liker, A. & Székely, T. 2000. Nest defense by lapwings: observations on natural behaviour and an experiment. Ardea 88: 155-163.

Liker, A. & Székely, T. 1999. Mating pattern and mate choice in the lapwing Vanellus vanellus. Ornis Hungarica 8-9: 13-25.

Liker, A. & Székely, T. 1999. Parental behaviour in the lapwing Vanellus vanellus. Ibis 141: 608-614.

Liker, A. & Székely, T. 1997. Aggression among female lapwings Vanellus vanellus. Animal Behaviour 54: 797-802.

Liker, A. & Székely, T. 1997. The impact of grazing and road use on hatching success of Lapwing Vanellus vanellus. Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 43: 85-92.

Liker, A. 1995. Monogamy in precocial birds: a review. Ornis Hungarica 5: 1-14.