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Magpie parents know a baby cuckoo when they see one
Date:12/11/2013

parasite fledglings.

The results support the idea that magpies are capable of discriminating cuckoo fledglings when they are allowed to compare them with their own fledglings. The researchers believe that the difference disappeared three weeks after leaving the nest because fledgling cuckoos by then tend to join cuckoo groups that are communally fed by more magpies than those involved in rearing the cuckoos in the nest.

"The presence of the host's own nestlings for comparison may be a crucial clue favoring the evolution of fledgling discrimination;" writes Soler. "Furthermore, the risk of discrimination at the fledgling stage probably is an important selection pressure driving the evolution of the arms race between brood parasites and their hosts."


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Contact: Joan Robinson
joan.robinson@springer.com
49-622-148-78130
Springer
Source:Eurekalert

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