Cuckoo laying behaviour

Subject: Cuckoo laying behaviour
Date: Fri, 6 Oct 1995 18:25:02 +1000 (EST)
>From my reading over the last fortnight, I understand that in some cuckoo
species, (or on some occasions), the male cuckoo of a temporary pairing, will
distract the birds from the target nest, allowing the female to make a quick
visit to lay.  It would appear that the removal of a host's egg is not because
the hosts would notice the increase in numbers (experiments indicated they
don't), but probably to ease the cuckoo hatchling's murderous task.  But, if
the hosts cannot count the number of eggs, why doesn't the female cuckoo
remove more than one or even all the hosts' eggs?  Does it remove the first
laid egg or just any one? Anyone got more details?

Russell. I guess you should report that Pied Butcherbird in Geelong as an
unusual "sighting" ;-)  The dangers of parochialism. I wouldn't have picked the
chap's whistle as a Grey.

Yours embarrassed,
Rob McNaught 

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