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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.

Matt Troutman

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