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Re: nest parasitism, parental care and such
<<One characteristic of the host-parasite relationship (at least among
the Australian cuckoos) is that the parasite is virtually always a
larger animal than the host species.>>
As in american sparrows and cowbirds, among others.
<<The comment about an African cuckoo that killed the hosts eggs/chicks
with a hook on the bill was referring to the honeyguides, the
Indicatoridae, a woodpecker relative.>>
I thought so.
<< One group of birds that does have a highly developed pattern of
laying the eggs and leaving them to hatch unattended is the Megapodiidae
(megapodes, mound-building birds, incubator birds) of the Australasian
region. The eggs are placed in a mound of decaying vegetation,
volcanically active soil, etc and the heat from that source incubates
the eggs. There is no parental attention following the laying of the
eggs. Any young in the way of an adult tending the nesting area is
treated like a rock or stick and kicked out of the way.>>
Lest us not forget that while they build the nest the male frequently
"takes the temperature" of the soil around the eggs.
What I really want to know is whether the Quercymegapodiidae practiced
the same behavior.
Another austrialian bird that performs coopertaive hunting units is the
kea parrot. They usually form large congregations and within the
congregations are birds that are able to kill and birds that do not know
how to kill.
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