Timothy Wright is an associate professor of biology at New Mexico State University. His research focuses on the function and evolution of vocal communication in parrots. Across the animal kingdom, the ability to learn vocal signals is restricted to a few evolutionarily distinct groups (songbirds, hummingbirds and parrots among birds; humans, bats and whales among mammals). Parrots are renowned for their vocal mimicry abilities in captivity, but less is known about how learning is used in the wild. Thus, they present opportunities for understanding how learning shapes communication behavior, how the use of learned vocalizations differs between species, and why this ability evolved in the first place. These core interests have expanded through the years to a variety of related questions regarding the systematics of parrots, the evolution of their impressive longevity, and how best to conserve endangered parrot species that he approaches collaboratively with other researchers and organizations. Wright tackles these questions through a broad range of approaches including field observations, sound analysis, telemetry, captive studies, playback experiments, psychoacoustics and molecular population genetics and phylogenetics. Students in Wright’s lab make use of these techniques or invent new ones as appropriate to investigate their own questions in behavior and evolution.