Re: tapes/mimicry

Subject: Re: tapes/mimicry
From: Ronald Orenstein <>
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 1997 07:53:39 -0500
>I also wondered why cuckoos and other parasitic species had not evolved to
>imitate their host species?  They could learn when they are reared, and
>then it would make it a lot easier to find the nests of the hosts???

African Indigobirds (Vidua) DO learn their songs from their hosts, which
are other finch species.  Such a strategy would be probably
counterproductive for a species with many different hosts, as the primary
purpose of song is intraspecific communication and therefore birds must be
able to recognize the songs of their own species (a different matter from
that of mimicry in, say, lyrebirds which have a wide mimic repertory but
share enough common elements to make the result presumably still
recognizable to other lyrebirds).
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
1825 Shady Creek Court                 
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2          

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