Errors in egg‐laying by female Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus in nests of its common host

  title={Errors in egg‐laying by female Common Cuckoo
 Cuculus canorus
 in nests of its common host},
  author={Marcel Honza and Milica Po{\vz}gayov{\'a} and Petr Proch{\'a}zka and Jaroslav Kole{\vc}ek},
Dozens of studies have documented that brood parasites are well adapted to a brood parasitic lifestyle but not all parasitism events are successful. Co‐evolution between brood parasites and their hosts is a dynamic process so it is reasonable to expect that a female brood parasite may commit errors during egg deposition by laying her eggs outside the laying period of the host, with consequent impacts on her fitness. Using an extensive dataset from a long‐term study, we evaluated egg‐laying… 
5 Citations
Cuckoos use host egg number to choose host nests for parasitism
This is the first field experiment showing that cuckoos choose host nests for parasitism based on the number of host eggs they contain, and it appears thatcuckoo females use the egg number to estimate the appropriate host nest stage for timely parasitism.
Proximate predictors of variation in egg rejection behavior by hosts of avian brood parasites.
The probability of egg rejection was related to the clutch size at the time of parasitism: in support of Weber's law, females with fewer eggs were more likely to reject the model eggs, and egg rejection probability was negatively related to incubation progress.
Cryptic eggs are rejected less frequently by a cuckoo host.
These findings indicate that even in the host-parasite system of open nests, parasitic eggs that are cryptic enough are prevented from being discovered and rejected by the host, and thus obtain the possibility of successful parasitism.
Caught on camera: circumstantial evidence for fatal mobbing of an avian brood parasite by a host
This is the first video-recording of a great reed warbler host whose vigorous nest defence appears to directly lead to the death of a female common cuckoo, and supports previous suggestions that hosts may pose a lethal danger to their parasites.


Conflict between egg recognition and egg rejection decisions in common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) hosts
Common cuckoos (Cuculus canorus) are obligate brood parasites, laying eggs into nests of small songbirds. The cuckoo hatchling evicts all eggs and young from a nest, eliminating hosts’ breeding
Brood parasites lay eggs matching the appearance of host clutches
The results indicate that cuckoos select certain host nests to increase matching of their own eggs with host clutches, but only in chromatic characteristics, and suggest that the ability of cuckoo to actively choose host nests based on the eggshell appearance imposes a strong selection pressure on host egg recognition.
When should Common Cuckoos Cuculus canorus lay their eggs in host nests?
Most Cuckoo eggs are laid prior to the onset of host incubation and this, together with other adaptive mechanisms, ensures the prior hatching of Cuckoos, who lose the advantage ofPrior hatching in approximately 30% of nests.
Common Cuckoos Cuculus canorus change their nest-searching strategy according to the number of available host nests
It is found that nest visibility, reed density and timing of breeding predicted brood parasitism of Great Reed Warblers Acrocephalus arundinaceus by the Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus, and that Cuckoos females are able to optimize their nest-searching strategy.
Egg‐morphs and host preference in the common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus): an analysis of cuckoo and host eggs from European museum collections
Support is provided for the ‘nest site hypothesis’ which states that each cuckoo female parasitizes a group of host species with similar eggs or nest sites, which indicates that cuckoos also parasitize several species whose nest sites are similar to those of their main host.
Host selection in parasitic birds: are open-cup nesting insectivorous passerines always suitable cuckoo hosts?
It is shown for the first time that a previously not studied but seemingly suitable host species escapes brood parasites, raising an important cautionary tale for comparative studies and the interpretation of apparent host rejection of parasitic chicks.
Host genotype and age have no effect on rejection of parasitic eggs
It seems that host decisions on egg rejection show high levels of phenotypic plasticity and are likely to depend on the spatiotemporal variation in the parasitism pressure.
Multiple parasitism reduces egg rejection in the host (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) of a mimetic avian brood parasite (Cuculus canorus).
It is suggested that parasites, through multiple parasitism, can partially overcome the evolution of hosts' recognition of mimetic parasite eggs.
Brood parasitism of rosefinches by cuckoos: suitable host or accidental parasitism?
It is concluded that the Chinese beautiful rosefinch is not a suitable host for the common cuckoo, and this parasitic breeding system does not represent a co-evolutionary relationship.