Carol Probets <>
Mon, 17 Nov 2003 20:01:22 +1100
An article in the Sydney Morning Herald in March this year described some
interesting findings which came out of a recent study involving Superb
Fairy-wrens and Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoos in Canberra. The gist of the
article was that the fairy-wrens were apparently developing the ability to
recognise a cuckoo chick in their nest and in 40 percent of cases abandoned
such nests. One of the researchers is quoted as saying that the cuckoo
chicks were recognised partly because they are alone in the nest and partly
because of the different sound of their begging call. However, the article
concludes with the statement: "Cuckoo chicks in Canberra have now begun to
fight back by imitating fairy-wren calls, the researchers have found."
I haven't read the original paper (except for the Abstract), so cannot
comment further, but it might be worth chasing up for those that are
interested in this fascinating topic. The reference is:
Langmore, N.E., Hunt, S. & Kilner, R.M. (2003) "Escalation of a
coevolutionary arms race through host rejection of brood parasitic young".
Nature 422, 157-160.
At 11:05 AM +1100 16/11/03, Andrew Taylor wrote:
>Learning of foster-siblings begging vocalization could have adaptive
>value for cuckoo and other brood parasite fledglings but I haven't seen
>any mention of this.
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