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State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1967–1971, B.S. Biology, 1971

State University of New York at Binghamton, 1971–1972, Computer Science

Indiana University, Bloomington, 1972–1977, M.A. Zoology, 1975; Ph.D. Zoology, 1977

Courses Taught

Human Biology, Zoology, Biometrics, Evolution, Animal Behavior, Population Biology

Research Interests

Mating systems and sexual selection, parental care, host-parasite co-evolution, territoriality, evolution of behavior



Yasukawa, K. and W. A. Searcy. 1995. Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus). In The Birds of North America, No. 184 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and The American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington, D.C.

Yasukawa, K. and W. A. Searcy. 2019. Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.


Searcy, W. A. and K. Yasukawa. 1995. Polygyny and Sexual Selection in the Red-winged Blackbird. Monograph in Behavior and Ecology. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Ploger, B. J. and K. Yasukawa. 2003. Exploring Animal Behavior in Laboratory and Field. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Yasukawa, K. (Editor). 2014. Animal Behavior: How and Why Animals Do the Things They Do, 3 Volumes. New York: Praeger/ABC-CLIO.


Yasukawa, K., E. I. Bick, D. W. Wagman and P. Marler. 1982. Playback and speaker-occupation experiments on song-based neighbor, stranger, and self discrimination in male Red-winged blackbirds. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 10, 211–215.

Yasukawa, K. and E. I. Bick. 1983. Dominance hierarchies in dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis): a test of a game-theory model. Animal Behaviour 31, 439–448.

Yasukawa, K., R. A. Boley and S. E. Simon. 1987. Seasonal change in the vocal behaviour of the female red-winged blackbird. Animal Behaviour 35, 1416–1423.

Yasukawa, K., J. L. McClure, R. A. Boley and J. Zanocco. 1990. Provisioning of nestlings by male and female red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus). Animal Behaviour 40, 153–166.

Yasukawa, K., R. A. Boley, J. L. McClure and J. Zanocco. 1992. Nest dispersion in the red-winged blackbird. Condor 94, 775–777.

Yasukawa, K, L. K. Whittenberger and T. A. Nielsen. 1992. Anti-predator vigilance in the red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus): do males act as sentinels? Animal Behaviour 43, 961–969.

Yasukawa, K., F. Leanza and C. D. King. 1993. An observational and brood exchange study of paternal provisioning in the red-winged blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus. Behavioral Ecology 4, 78–82.

Burford, J., T. J. Friedrich and K. Yasukawa. 1998. Response to playback of nestling begging in the red-winged blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus. Animal Behaviour 56, 555–561.

Edwards, S., E. Messenger and K. Yasukawa. 1999. Do red-winged blackbird parents and their nestlings recognize each other? Journal of Field Ornithology 70, 297–309.

Brooks, R. and K. Yasukawa. Laboratory exercises in animal behavior. Animal Behavior Society web page

Burton, N. and K. Yasukawa. 2001. The “predator early warning system” of the red-winged blackbird. Journal of Field Ornithology 72, 106–112.

Yasukawa, K. and W. Werner. 2007. Nest abandonment as a potential anti-parasite adaptation in the red-winged blackbird. Passenger Pigeon 69, 481–489.

Yasukawa, K., J. Urish, A. Her and E. Light. 2008. Similarity in the begging calls of nestling red-winged blackbirds. Journal of Field Ornithology 79, 254–262.

Yasukawa, K., L. K. Butler and D. A. Enstrom. 2009. Intersexual and intrasexual consequences of epaulet brightness in male red-winged blackbirds: an experimental approach. Animal Behaviour 77, 531–540.

Bernath-Plaisted, J. and K. Yasukawa. 2011. The effects of male alarm calling on nestling begging and female provisioning in red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus). Journal of Field Ornithology 82, 394–404.

Krauss and K. Yasukawa. 2013. How do female red-winged blackbirds allocate food within broods? Condor 115, 198–208.

Zou, A., D. L Lambert, H. Yeh, K. Yasukawa, F. Behbod, F. Fan and N. Cheng. 2014. Elevated CXCL1 expression in breast cancer stroma predicts poor prognosis and is inversely associated with expression of TGF-beta signaling proteins. BMC Cancer 14, 781. doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-781

Yasukawa, K., H. K. Berrios and A. W. Johannes. 2016. A test of the nestling discrimination hypothesis for brown-headed cowbird parasitism of red-winged blackbirds. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 128, 437–441.

Yasukawa, K., J. Lindsey-Robbins, C. S. Henger and M. E. Hauber. (2016). Antiparasitic behaviors of red-winged blackbirds in response to simulated brown-headed cowbirds: further tests of the frontloaded parasite-defense hypothesis. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 128, 475–486.

Yasukawa, K., E. J. Dorjath and S. K. Morgan. (2017). Antipredator behavior of adult and nestling red-winged blackbirds, Agelaius phoeniceus. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 129, 639–642.

Yasukawa, K., J. Sollenberger, J. Lindsey-Robbins, and E. DeBruyn. 2020. Calling in the face of danger: Do nestling red-winged blackbird suppress begging in response to predator playbacks? The Auk: Ornithological Advances, 137, 1–11.

Louder, M. I. M., M. Lafayette, A. N. A. Louder, C. Balakrishnan, K. Yasukawa, and M. E. Hauber. 2020. Parallel behavioral responses and neurocognitive biomarker gene expression patterns to acoustic stimuli of varying salience in a wild songbird. Scientific Reports, 10. DOI:10.1038/s41598-020-60231-y

Ken Yasukawa

Emeritus Professor of Biology


Ken Yasukawa is Emeritus Professor in the Beloit College Biology Department. He is a behavioral ecologist with research interests in the function and evolution of animal behavior.

Ken has served as Editor in Chief of the Journal of Field Ornithology, editor of Animal Behaviour and The Auk: Ornithological Advances, and President of the Animal Behavior Society.

He has published research in animal mating systems and sexual selection, territoriality, parental care, host-parasite coevolution, and communication. He taught Human Biology, Zoology, Biometrics, Evolution, Animal Behavior, and Population Biology, and topics courses in animal communication and game theory.

During his career at Beloit, Ken enjoyed working with students in the classroom and on research projects. Students have co-authored many of his publications. He received the Underkofler Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 1995 and the Janet Andersen Award for Research with Undergraduates from the Midstates Consortium for Math and Science in 2009, 

He also coached the varsity volleyball team for 30 years.

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  • Ken Yasukawa observing birds in the field.

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