Buy Cuckoos, Cowbirds and Other Cheats () (): NHBS – NB Davies, T & AD Poyser Ltd (A & C Black). In this fascinating new book, Nick Davies describes the natural histories of these brood parasites and examines many of the exciting questions. Request PDF on ResearchGate | On Jan 1, , David F. Sherry and others published Cuckoos, Cowbirds and Other Cheats.

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Amundsen T, Brobakken P.

Cuckoos, Cowbirds and Other Cheats

If parasitized in their first breeding attempt, parents would then reject all cowbirfs subsequent young Lotem Hence, this is a scenario where the benefits of polygyny to males are higher than the benefits of a better adaptation to a particular host species. Nest predation by cowbirds and its consequences for passerine demography. Imprinting and the origin of parasite—host species associations in brood parasitic indigobirds Vidua chalybeata.

For example, Hauber used a comparative approach to document that hosts of Brown-headed Cowbirds have reduced clutch sizes, which is exactly what general life-history theory predicts under increased juvenile mortality in the host species, and Soler et al. In contrast, chicks of a few cuckoo species, cowbirds and parasitic finches are commonly raised together with the host chicks.

Indeed, unsuitable host species have been shown to react less aggressively towards a Common Cuckoo dummy than suitable host species Moksnes et al. Interspecific brood parasitism and the evolution of host clutch sizes. Eggshell strength in cuckoos and cowbirds.

But chick mimicry does not completely preclude colonization of new host species Payne et al. This is easier said than done, given that one can hardly turn an acceptor into a rejector and hence measure the lifetime cuckkoos of egg rejection.

Cuckoos, Cowbirds and Other Cheats – Nicholas B. Davies – Google Books

This, however, also means that brood parasites should selectively parasitize prime-aged hosts. Here is a book with wide appeal, both to amateur naturalists fascinated by this most singular and macabre of behaviors and by ornithologists and ecologists interested in the evolution of ecology and behavior.


The current strategy defines a given degree of egg rejection, which can vary from 0 to 1. Exploitation of host mechanisms for parental care by avian brood parasites.

Given the non-randomness of parasitism that they document, this correlational study should be backed-up by experimental approaches to test whether brood parasitism at a certain age of an individual can have a fitness consequence.

Cuckoos, cowbirds and hosts: adaptations, trade-offs and constraints

On current cowgirds, female gentes of Common Cuckoos represent alternative reproductive strategies, i. How do cuckoos find their hosts? Brood parasitic cowbird nestlings use host young to procure resources. He has seven previous books to his name. Have host defenses limited the success of brood parasitism, or is it in fact much more common than we suspect, but occurring mainly when birds parasitize the nest of their own kind?

Removing brown-headed cowbirds increases seasonal fecundity and population growth in song sparrows.

This demands an explanation since presumably males would benefit from multiple mates and females from the potential genetic benefits of mating with several males. While many host species appear defenseless, accepting parasite eggs quite unlike their own, many are more discriminating against odd-looking eggs and some have evolved the ability to discriminate against odd-looking chicks as well.


The question arises as to why, given the absence of kin selection benefits between parasitic and host chicks, parasites in these species do not obligately outcompete host chicks.

One constraint that parasitic chicks often face is how to hatch from an egg that has a thick or particularly hard shell Payne a. Iolo Williams is a first-language Welshman, born in Builth Wells in and brought up in mid Wales. It would be interesting to know what happens between parasitic and host chicks for the non-ejecting cuckoo species and the parasitic finches. Under which circumstances could it not be the best option to reject a parasitic egg? However, hosts deserted 11 out of 29 parasitic chicks, sentencing them to death through starvation or cold Langmore et al.


Account Options Sign in. The larger clutches offer protection from egg removal or damage by the cowbird but necessitate brood reduction if the clutch is not parasitized. He was Editor of the Cheshire Bird Report between and As mentioned earlier, there is some evidence for the nesting-exposure hypothesis: Interestingly, despite subtle adjustments of begging behaviour, visual chick mimicry is essentially absent in brood parasites with the exception of the Screaming Cowbird Molothrus rufoaxillaris and the parasitic finches Davies ; Payne b.

Other titles from Poyser. Abstract The interactions between brood parasitic birds and their host species provide one of the best model systems for coevolution. The Common Cuckoo—Dunnock system would be an example of continued exploitation with no host defences. A few studies have tried to determine what cues are used by brood parasites to locate host nests.

Escalation of a coevolutionary arms race through host rejection of brood parasitic young. Differences in the nestling begging calls of hosts and host-races of the common cuckoo, Cuculus canorus.