Anne-Cathérine Gutzwiller | Research interests

- Ornithology
- Alpine ecology
- Animal behaviour

Master project

Social behaviour of White-winged Snowfinches (Montifringilla nivalis) in winter. Snowfinches live in the high mountains year-round; they are well adapted to the icy conditions in winter. Nevertheless, foraging can be a challenge when there is a lot of snow and ice, which is why Snowfinches also readily use supplementary food at anthropogenic feeding sites. For me, this is a great opportunity to study social behaviour and foraging strategies of birds that otherwise use a habitat inaccessible to us humans.

I am mainly interested in intraspecific competition in foraging Snowfinch flocks. I try to show individual differences in the use of supplementary food, in access to feeding sites and in aggressive behaviour. Furthermore, I want to describe the spatial distribution of individuals at feeding sites depending on the strength of competition. I try to assess advantages and disadvantages of foraging in social groups for Snowfinches. Because food supply could change with increasing human presence in the mountains and with climate change, competitive strength of individuals could become an even more important trait in order to survive the winter.


2020–ongoingMaster in animal biology, University of Basel. My thesis is supervised by Prof. Dr. Valentin Amrhein and Dr. Fränzi Korner-Nievergelt, Swiss Ornithological Institute in Sempach
BSc in biology, University of Basel

Anne-Cathérine Gutzwiller

Department of Environmental Sciences, Zoology
University of Basel
Vesalgasse 1
4051 Basel

Swiss Ornithological Institute
Seerose 1
6204 Sempach