From Parasitism to Mutualism: Unexpected Interactions Between a Cuckoo and Its Host

  title={From Parasitism to Mutualism: Unexpected Interactions Between a Cuckoo and Its Host},
  author={Daniela Canestrari and Diana Bolopo and Ted C. J. Turlings and Gregory R{\"o}der and J. Martin Marcos and Vittorio Baglione},
  pages={1350 - 1352}
Predation Favors Parasitism Parasitism in birds often results in ejection or starvation of the host's nestlings. Consequently, many host bird species have evolved protective behavior such as mobbing and parasite egg rejection. Curiously, some host species show no parasite avoidance behaviors; for example, the crow Corvus corone corone tolerates cuckoo chicks among its own brood. In a long-term study, Canestrari et al. (p. 1350) found that crow nests containing a cuckoo chick had lower rates of… 
Great spotted cuckoo nestlings have no antipredatory effect on magpie or carrion crow host nests in southern Spain
The results do not fit expectations and do not support the fascinating possibility that great spotted cuckoo nestlings could have an antipredatory effect for host nestlings, at least in the study area.
Brood Parasites as Predators: Farming and Mafia Strategies
It is suggested that costs of retaliatory behaviours together with phenotypic plasticity of magpie and great spotted cuckoo’s defences and counter-defences are the crucial points explaining these differences in parasitism rates.
Success of cuckoo catfish brood parasitism reflects coevolutionary history and individual experience of their cichlid hosts
It is shown that coevolutionary history and individual learning both have a major impact on the success of cuckoo catfish parasitism between coevolved sympatric and evolutionarily naïve allopatric cichlid species.
Chicks of the Great Spotted Cuckoo May Turn Brood Parasitism into Mutualism by Producing a Foul-Smelling Secretion that Repels Predators
Details on the chemical composition of the cuckoo secretion are provided, as well as conclusive evidence that the dominating volatile chemicals in the secretion are highly repellent to model species representative of common predators of thecrows.
The evolution of acceptance and tolerance in hosts of avian brood parasites
The interactions between brood parasites and their hosts provide a highly tractable system for studying the evolution of tolerance, and studies of host defences against brood parasites should investigate both resistance and tolerance.
Brood parasitism by the enigmatic and rare Pavonine Cuckoo in Amazonian Peru
The results suggest that Pavonine Cuckoos negatively affect their hosts' breeding success and are engaged in a coevolutionary arms race with hosts that have defenses against parasitism.
Brood Parasitism and Cooperative Breeding: Seeking an Evolutionary Link
Although the link between cooperative breeding and brood parasitism is just begun, the results have already widened the perspective on the evolution of avian breeding systems and future studies that aim at building this bridge should be encouraged.


If the egg of the parasitic great spotted cuckoo Clamator glandarius is removed from nests of its magpie Pica pica host, nests suffer significantly higher predation rates than control nests in which parasite eggs have not been removed.
Brood parasitism selects for no defence in a cuckoo host
  • O. Krüger
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2011
It is shown, using both field and experimental data to parametrize a simulation model, that the absence of defence behaviour by Cape bulbuls against parasitic eggs of the Jacobin cuckoo (Clamator jacobinus) is optimal behaviour.
Nest predation by cowbirds and its consequences for passerine demography.
Brood parasitism by brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater) reduces reproductive success in many passerines that nest in fragmented habitats and ecological edges, where nest predation is also common.
Cuckoos versus hosts in insects and birds: adaptations, counter‐adaptations and outcomes
An adaptive explanation of co‐evolution between brood parasites and their hosts is proposed, which centres on the relative strength of two opposing processes: strategy‐facilitation, in which one line of host defence promotes the evolution of another form of resistance, and strategy‐blocking, which may relax selection on another so completely that it causes it to decay.
Activity, Survival, Independence and Migration of Fledgling Great Spotted Cuckoos
The behavior of fledgling Great Spotted Cuckoos was studied, with special attention to changes in the activity of fledgling cuckoos with age, survival of fledglingcuckoos and magpies in parasitized nests, (3) post-fledgling dependence, and (4) migration of fledgling and adult cuckoo.
Growth and Development of Great Spotted Cuckoos and Their Magpie Host
Great Spotted Cuckoo nestlings grew faster than Magpie nestlings in unparasitized and in parasitized nests and there is some evidence that the size of the host species did not influence the growth rate of parasite nestlings.
Mutualism or parasitism? The variable outcome of cleaning symbioses
Spatial variation in the outcome of the cleaning relationship between Caribbean cleaning gobies and longfin damselfish over the distribution range of these species is shown, and this variation is linked to the availability of ectoparasites.
Effect of parentage and relatedness on the individual contribution to cooperative chick care in carrion crows Corvus corone corone
Whether potential breeders and non-breeders adjust their individual effort in nestling feeding respectively to their level of parentage and the relatedness with the chicks is investigated, but there is no significant correlation between feeding rate and relatedness to the nestling.
These unconventional families provide startling images: a cliff swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota carrying in its bill a partially incubated egg of its own to another cliff swallow’s nest, a three day old greater honeyguide Indicator indicator, naked, blind, and heavily armed, stabbing and shaking to death a newly-hatched bee-eater chick in the darkness of a burrow.