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Neighborhood watch and more: How reed warblers watch out when there's a cuckoo about


PhysOrg

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It's a risky business being a reed warbler. Not only do these tiny birds embark on an annual migration of some 5,000 km from their West African winter quarters to breeding grounds in the north, but they are also 'hosts' to the cuckoo, a species that lays its eggs in other birds' nests and takes no further part in raising its offspring. When the cuckoo chick hatches, it pushes the reed warbler eggs and young out of the nest. As sole occupant, it tricks its warbler 'parents' into supplying its voracious appetite until it fledges.

 

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