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Dr Çağlar Akçay

Senior Lecturer

Faculty of Science and Engineering
Life Sciences
Areas of Expertise:
Animal and environmental biology
Research Supervision:

Çağlar Akçay is a behavioural ecologist interested in animal communication and social cognition.

[email protected]

Visit Çağlar's personal website

View Çağlar's Google Scholar profile


Dr Çağlar Akçay joined the School of Life Sciences in January 2022 as a Senior lecturer. He was an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Koc University, Istanbul, Turkey from 2017-2022. He held postdoctoral positions at Virginia Tech, Cornell University and University of Washington between 2011 and 2017.

His research interests are in the evolution and development of animal communications and how animals use social cognition to navigate social interactions. He primarily works with songbirds as model systems, carrying out field studies with wild songbirds living in a variety of habitats.

Spoken Languages


Research interests

  • Animal communication
  • Social cognition
  • Anthropogenic impacts on animal behaviour

Areas of research supervision

Çağlar welcomes enquiries from prospective research studies in the areas of his research interests.


BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour
BSc (Hons) Zoology
MSc Animal Behaviour Applications for Conservation


  • PhD, Animal Behavior, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  • MA, Cognition and Perception, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
  • BS, Biology and Psychology, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey

Memberships, editorial boards

Animal Behavior Society
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Society of Turkey

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

Turkish Science Academy - Early Career Fellowship, 2019-2021

Selected recent publications

Ertör-Akyazi, P. and Akçay, Ç., 2021. Moral intuitions predict pro-social behaviour in a climate commons game. Ecological Economics, 181, p.106918

Beecher, M. D., & Akçay, Ç. 2021. Social factors in bird-song development: Learning to sing with friends and rivals. Learning & Behavior, 49(1), 137-149

Beecher, M.D., Akçay, Ç. and Campbell, S.E., 2020. Birdsong learning is mutually beneficial for tutee and tutor in song sparrows. Animal Behaviour, 166, pp.281-288.

Akçay, Ç., Beck, M.L. and Sewall, K.B., 2020. Are signals of aggressive intent less honest in urban habitats?. Behavioral Ecology, 31(1), pp.213-221

Akçay, Ç., Porsuk, Y. K., Avşar, A., Çabuk, D., & Bilgin, C. C. (2020). Song overlapping, noise, and territorial aggression in great tits. Behavioral Ecology, 31(3), 807-814

Akçay, Ç., Campbell, S.E., Darling, S. and Beecher, M.D., 2020. Territory establishment, song learning strategies and survival in song sparrows. Ethology, 126(7), pp.694-703

Smith, M.G., Akçay, Ç., Shizuka, D., Stern, C.A. and Dickinson, J.L., 2020. Extraterritorial visits in a cooperatively breeding songbird are consistent with multiple functions. Animal Behaviour, 170, pp.119-132

Akçay, Ç., & Beecher, M. D. (2020). Song sparrows do not discriminate between their own song and stranger song. Behavioural Processes, 178, 104184

Akçay, Ç. and Beecher, M.D., 2019. Multi-modal communication: song sparrows increase signal redundancy in noise. Biology letters, 15(10), p.20190513