André Dhondt

Director, Bird Population Studies


Disease Ecology • Population Ecology • Behavioral Ecology • Evolutionary Ecology • Conservation Biology

As the Director of the Bird Population Studies program I design and coordinate bird-related research. As the Morgens Professor of Ornithology in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology I teach and supervise research of undergraduate and graduate students, and collaborate with colleagues both at Cornell and elsewhere.

I am a native of Belgium, and I obtained my Ph.D. at Ghent State University. After working with UNESCO (in Turkey), the UN (as a consultant in Niger) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation in Madagascar (forestry and conservation) and in Samoa (applied entomology) I joined the newly founded Antwerp University in Belgium as a Professor where I created an active group in animal, behavioral and population ecology studying not only birds, but also mammals, insects and plants.

I spent some time in Zaire, Algeria and France as a visiting professor and in 1994 I joined the Laboratory of Ornithology at Cornell University as the Director of the Bird Population Studies program and as the first Edwin H. Morgens Professor of Ornithology in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

At the Lab of Ornithology I developed multiple citizen science projects in collaboration with Rick Bonney and other colleagues. This led to a long-term study of the epidemic following the shift of the poultry pathogenic bacterium Mycoplasma gallisepticum to House Finches. As Professor of Ornithology on campus I teach and supervise undergraduate and graduate students. These have studied problems as diverse as bird social behavior, effects of habitat fragmentation in temperate and tropical environments, life-history trade-offs, pathogens in birds, and adaptations to high elevations.

I am also a member of the Academia Europaea.


Ph.D., Biology, Ghent State University
M.Sc., Zoology, Ghent State University


I am inspired by things I don’t understand.

Recent Publications

DeLeon, S., M. S. Webster, T. J. DeVoogd, and A. A. Dhondt (2020). Developmental polychlorinated biphenyl exposure influences adult zebra finch reproductive behaviour. PLOS ONE 15:e0230283.
McNeil, D. J., A. D. Rodewald, O. J. Robinson, C. J. Fiss, K. V. Rosenberg, V. Ruiz-Gutierrez, K. R. Aldinger, A. A. Dhondt, S. Petzinger, and J. L. Larkin (2020). Regional abundance and local breeding productivity explain occupancy of restored habitats in a migratory songbird. Biological Conservation 245:108463.
Reinoso-Pérez, M. T., K. V. Dhondt, A. V. Sydenstricker, D. Heylen, and A. A. Dhondt (2020). [In Press] Complex interactions between bacteria and haemosporidian in co-infected host: An experiment. Ecology and Evolution.
Heylen, D., M. T. Reinoso-Pérez, L. B. Goodman, K. V. Dhondt, and A. A. Dhondt (2020). [In Press] Tick tactics during an avian disease outbreak: An experiment with Mycoplasma-infected House Finches. International Journal of Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife.
McNeil, D. J., A. D. Rodewald, V. Ruiz‐Gutierrez, K. E. Johnson, M. Strimas‐Mackey, S. Petzinger, O. J. Robinson, G. E. Soto, A. A. Dhondt, and J. L. Larkin (2020). [In Press] Multi‐scale drivers of restoration outcomes for an imperiled songbird. Restoration Ecology.
Dhondt, A. A., J. L. Collison, M. H. Lam, M. J. D’Ambrosio, and T. L. Heaton (2020). [In Press] Note on the non-breeding behavior of the Palmchat. Caribbean Journal of Ornithology.
Dhondt, A. A., A. P. Dobson, and W. M. Hochachka (2019). Mycoplasmal conjunctivitis in House Finches: The study of an emerging disease. In Wildlife Disease Ecology (K. Wilson, A. Fenton and D. Tompkins, Editors). 1st edition. Cambridge University Press, pp. 574–597.
Radchuk, V., T. Reed, C. Teplitsky, M. van de Pol, A. Charmantier, C. Hassall, P. Adamík, F. Adriaensen, M. P. Ahola, P. Arcese, J. Miguel Avilés, et al. (2019). Adaptive responses of animals to climate change are most likely insufficient. Nature Communications 10:3109.
Fracasso, G., E. Matthysen, A. A. Dhondt, and D. Heylen (2019). Experimental study of micro-habitat selection by ixodid ticks feeding on avian hosts. International Journal for Parasitology 49:1005–1014.
Hanley, B. J., A. A. Dhondt, B. Dennis, and K. L. Schuler (2019). Using time series data to assess recent population dynamics of Bald Eagles in the northeast United States. Ecosphere 10:e02963.
Gamelon, M., S. J. G. Vriend, S. Engen, F. Adriaensen, A. A. Dhondt, S. R. Evans, E. Matthysen, B. C. Sheldon, and B. Sæther (2019). Accounting for interspecific competition and age structure in demographic analyses of density dependence improves predictions of fluctuations in population size. Ecology Letters 22:797–806.
Dhondt, A. A., J. L. Collison, M. H. Lam, M. J. D’Ambrosio, and T. L. Crisologo (2019). Palmchat (Dulus dominicus) activity at nests in the non-breeding season. The Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 32:91–97.
Potter, A. B., and A. A. Dhondt (2019). [In press] Behavioral observations on White-naped Tits Parus nuchalis during the breeding season. Forktail.
Fracasso, G., E. Matthysen, A. A. Dhondt, and D. Heylen (2019). [In Press] Experimental study of micro-habitat selection in ixodid ticks feeding on avian hosts. International Journal for Parasitology.
Dhondt, A. A., A. P. Dobson, and W. M. Hochachka (2019). [In press] Mycoplasmal Conjunctivitis in House Finches: The Study of an Emerging Disease. In Wildlife Disease Ecology: Linking Theory to Data and Application. Cambridge University Press.
Fleming-Davies, A. E., P. D. Williams, A. A. Dhondt, A. P. Dobson, W. M. Hochachka, A. E. Leon, D. H. Ley, E. E. Osnas, and D. M. Hawley (2018). Incomplete host immunity favors the evolution of virulence in an emergent pathogen. Science 359:1030–1033.
Møller, A. P., J. Balbontín, A. A. Dhondt, V. Remeš, F. Adriaensen, C. Biard, J. Camprodon, M. Cichoń, B. Doligez, A. Dubiec, M. Eens, et al. (2018). Effects of interspecific coexistence on laying date and clutch size in two closely related species of hole-nesting birds. Journal of Animal Ecology 87:1738–1748.
Dhondt, A. A., K. V. Dhondt, A. P. Dobson, S. J. Geary, D. M. Hawley, W. M. Hochachka, D. H. Ley, E. R. Tulman, and K. Pflaum (2018). Epidemic spread and evolutionary changes in an emerging pathogen following a host shift from poultry to wild birds. Investigación en Ciencia Animal 2:149–161.
Barve, S., S. Dixit, A. A. Dhondt, and F. Ishtiaq (2017). Sexual dimorphism in breast stripe width and beak eco-morphology in Himalayan Green-backed Tits (Parus monticolus). Avian Biology Research 10:259–263.
Dhondt, A. A., K. V. Dhondt, W. M. Hochachka, D. H. Ley, and D. M. Hawley (2017). Response of House Finches recovered from Mycoplasma gallisepticum to reinfection with a heterologous strain. Avian Diseases 61:437–441.
Dhondt, A. A., K. V. Dhondt, and S. Nazeri (2017). Apparent effect of chronic Plasmodium infections on disease severity caused by experimental infections with Mycoplasma gallisepticum in House Finches. International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife 6:49–53.
Barve, S., and A. A. Dhondt (2017). Elevational replacement of two Himalayan titmice: Interspecific competition or habitat preference? Journal of Avian Biology.
Pflaum, K., E. R. Tulman, J. Beaudet, X. Liao, K. V. Dhondt, A. A. Dhondt, D. M. Hawley, D. H. Ley, K. M. Kerr, and S. J. Geary (2017). Attenuated phenotype of a recent House Finch-associated Mycoplasma gallisepticum isolate in domestic poultry. Infection and Immunity 85:e00185-17.
Dhondt, A. A., and A. P. Dobson (2017). Stress hormones bring birds, pathogens, and mosquitoes together. Trends in Parasitology 33:339–341.
Barve, S., A. A. Dhondt, V. B. Mathur, and Z. A. Cheviron (2016). Life-history characteristics influence physiological strategies to cope with hypoxia in Himalayan birds. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 283:20162201.
Ley, D. H., D. M. Hawley, S. J. Geary, and A. A. Dhondt (2016). House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) conjunctivitis, and Mycoplasma spp. isolated from North American wild birds, 1994–2015. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 52:669–673.
La Sorte, F. A., W. M. Hochachka, A. Farnsworth, A. A. Dhondt, and D. Sheldon (2016). The implications of mid-latitude climate extremes for North American migratory bird populations. Ecosphere 7:e01261.

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