Scrubwren nesting?

To: jade welch <>, "" <>
Subject: Scrubwren nesting?
From: Brian Fleming <>
Date: Sat, 02 Aug 2003 20:48:01 +1000
jade welch wrote:
> Hi all,
> Have another question for you all. I have been reading up on this but
> can't find anything on this issue in any books etc. Last week i saw
> two White-browed Scrubwrens feeding a young Cuckoo in their nest at
> Hinze Dam on the Gold Coast in Queensland. This week i saw the
> two White-browed Scrubwrens around the nest however they were not
> feeding the cuckoo but three Large-billed Scrubwren's were.
> Has observed this before? Can anyone explain what is happening here?
> Thanks for your help.
> Yours Sincerely
> Mr Jade Welch
> Gold Coast,
> Queensland
Dear Jade,
   This was a good observation of a fairly typical part of cuckoo life.
   As a trespasser in its foster-parents' nest, the young cuckoo is on a
sticky wicket.
   It succeeds first by evicting its competitors, and second by
providing a super-stimulus to its fosterers' feeding response. Its huge
mouth and bottomless appetite seduce not only its original
foster-parents, but other parents of nestlings in the vicinity. I have
seen a young Fantail Cuckoo being fed by the White-plumed Honeyeaters
which had probably hatched it, and by a group of 3 or 4  White-naped
Honeyeaters as well. This was in Gresswell Forest Reserve, Watsonia
(Melbourne northern suburb).
  Norman Chaffer published a series of pictures of a flying young Pallid
Cuckoo, which had perched just above a Grey Fantail's nest. It thus
diverted the food the Fantails brought for their own young, with fatal
results for them. In addition it was also being fed by its own
foster-parents, honeyeaters as I recall. (I no longer have Chaffer's "In
search of Bowerbirds" but I think it included these pictures).

Anthea Fleming

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