“Dirty” cuckoo: will imitate other birds natural enemies called the opportunity to lay eggs

According to foreign media reports, cuckoo in the animal kingdom notorious, because they like to lay eggs in the nest of other birds, forcing them to small cuckoo as their children to feed. A new study shows that female rhododendrons can scare them by imitating the sounds of other bird’s natural enemies and then take the opportunity to lay eggs in their nests.

This practice of rhododendrons is called “brood parasitism” (brood parasitism), that is, some animals to cast a trick, so that another species of biological for their own children. In general, these animals are forced to spend more time and energy on their children, and their children tend to suffer. Rhododendrons have a lot of tricks, such as the color of the egg close to the “foster parents” of the eggs, and in the host nest spawning speed, high efficiency.

And scientists in a new study found that rhododendron there is another deceptive trick. The study, conducted by Cambridge University birdologists Jennifer York and Nicholas Davies, shows that female cuckoo will soon be spawning in the nest of reed warbler Imitate the sparrowhawk (sparrowhawk) call. Sword Eagle is the natural enemies of the reed warbler, hear the former call, reed warbler will not easily return to the nest, so the cuckoo can stay longer, increase the odds. Finally, the reed warbler returned to the nest, did not realize that some opportunistic elements have left their own eggs here.

An ordinary rhododendron.

一只普通杜鹃。
一只普通杜鹃。
Rhododendron likes to produce eggs in the reed warbler’s nest.
杜鹃喜欢将卵产在芦苇莺的巢中。
杜鹃喜欢将卵产在芦苇莺的巢中。
York and Davis’s research has solved a long time on the Rhododendron a mystery. Male cuckoo calls and females are very different, sounds like laughter in general, similar to “kwik-kwik-kwik”, so azalea also known as “cuckoo”. However, the female rhododendron will also make such a call when laying eggs in other bird nests. Scientists are confused by this, can not understand why the female rhododendron in the attack to make such a compelling move. York and Davis speculate that the female rhododendron is actually imitating the bird spider eagle “kiii-kiii-kiii” call.

The researchers conducted an experiment to prove this. They record the male and female rhododendrons, the sparrow eagle, and the gray dove dove (gray dove do not pose a threat to the reed warbler, here as a control), and then play in the wild environment to reed warbler listen. When they hear the cuckoo and the dove of the dove, there is no reaction. But heard the female cuckoo “kwik-kwik-kwik” when the call, their degree of panic and heard the bird bird eagle almost when the call. This makes them immediately alert, leave the nest, and hide far enough until they feel dangerous to lift.

The cuckoo simulates the scorch of the bird’s eagles to distract the host’s attention and leave them in the nest to increase the chance of successful parasitism, “the authors write in the report. In the fight against a game, the cuckoo may be ‘laughing at the last’. “

The female rhododendron can imitate the call of the bird’s eagle.

reed warbler hear the female rhododendron and eat bird eagle’s call, will enter the “alert” mode. In order to ensure that the research method is correct, York and Davis carried the same experiment with the tits. This kind of bird is not the goal of the rhododendron, but also the predator eater. The response of the tits to the female cuckoo is the same as that of the food spider eagle, and further confirms that the female cuckoo “kwik-kwik-kwik” is a natural enemy of imitation of the host bird.

雌性杜鹃可以模仿食雀鹰的叫声。
雌性杜鹃可以模仿食雀鹰的叫声。
芦苇莺听到雌性杜鹃和食雀鹰的叫声时,都会进入“警觉”模式。
芦苇莺听到雌性杜鹃和食雀鹰的叫声时,都会进入“警觉”模式。
The results of these studies show that female cuckoo to improve the chances of success, at the forced female reed warbler dilemma, so that it had to protect their own safety, abandoned children in disregard. If you are unfortunate enough to die, the child still unattended, so the best practice is usually fled – the middle rhododendron. The study also shows that cuckoo’s call varies from gender to gender, and it also facilitates its habit of hatching. (Leaves)

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