Re: birding-aus Pallid Cuckoo with (at least) 3 parents!

Subject: Re: birding-aus Pallid Cuckoo with (at least) 3 parents!
From: "Carol Probets" <>
Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 23:42:45 PST

Anne Green wrote:
>Observations like this have been recorded previously and this one is a
>very vivid illustration of the strength of the instinct of (most) 
>birds to feed a hungry mouth! The stimuli provided by the exceptionally
>large gape and exceptionally loud begging, wing fluttering etc of a
>cuckoo chick can over-ride the small matter of its being the "wrong"
>species. Cross-specific parenting is quite easily triggered among
>mammals (including humans) by stimuli such as proportionately large,
>infantile head and eyes, crying/wimpering/mewing sounds and general
>helplesness so it seems reasonable that the same should apply to birds.
>Regards, Anne

I agree with this but would like to add that perhaps this only occurs 
with birds that are already in breeding mode and have the appropriate 
hormones racing around their bodies. I have heard of an example where 
Pied Currawongs first tried to attack and later ignored a young, begging 
Channel-billed Cuckoo which was placed in their territory (in captivity) 
by a wildlife carer.

I suggest (tentatively) that the birds feeding the Pallid Cuckoo would 
probably have recently lost young or eggs. Do others agree?

Cheers, Carol

Carol Probets
Katoomba NSW

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