Check out this confused “mother,” a reed warbler, feeding it’s “baby” cuckoo sitting atop a nest it has long outgrown. Does it notice how different this baby is?
Cuckoos are famed for laying their eggs in host species’ nests, leaving unwitting “foster” birds to raise their chicks. Known as “brood parasites” they are able to specialize their eggs’ appearance in order to disguise them in the nests of other birds. In a mere ten seconds, the cuckoo hen swoops down and lays an egg very similar to her host’s, and flies off with one of the host’s eggs in her bill.
When the young cuckoo hatches, its first act is to dispose of any other eggs: it heaves them out of the nest, leaving itself as the sole occupant.
What happens next is peculiar. The foster parents don’t appear to notice they are rearing a monster. Instead, they work hard to satisfy the demands of the chick, even though it sometimes becomes so large that it no longer fits inside the nest, and has to sit on top. It’s one of the oddest sights in nature.
Gee, Dusky—you have the most intriguing videos of anyone I know! Thank you for another lesson of nature! I knew nothing about badgers, except that I like them. And the guide bird is such a good guide—amazing!
Hope everything is good with you, Lorie
i had known that the cuckoos lay eggs in other birds nest but not known that the chicks elbow out the eggs of the hosts. excellent photography. Must have lots of patience to click the vdo.Well done. I am very luck to have subscribe to Dusky’s
thanks a million.