Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 68, Issue 2, pp 333–342

Great spotted cuckoo fledglings are disadvantaged by magpie host parents when reared together with magpie nestlings

Authors

    • Departamento de Zoología, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de Granada
    • Grupo Coevolución, Unidad Asociada al CSICUniversidad de Granada
  • Liesbeth de Neve
    • Departamento de Zoología, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de Granada
    • Department of Biology, Terrestrial Ecology UnitGhent University
  • Gianluca Roncalli
    • Departamento de Zoología, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de Granada
  • Elena Macías-Sánchez
    • Departamento de Zoología, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de Granada
  • Juan Diego Ibáñez-Álamo
    • Departamento de Zoología, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de Granada
  • Tomás Pérez-Contreras
    • Departamento de Zoología, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de Granada
    • Grupo Coevolución, Unidad Asociada al CSICUniversidad de Granada
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00265-013-1648-9

Cite this article as:
Soler, M., de Neve, L., Roncalli, G. et al. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (2014) 68: 333. doi:10.1007/s00265-013-1648-9

Abstract

The post-fledging period is a critical phase for juvenile survival, and parental care provided during this period is a key component of avian reproductive performance. Very little is known about the relationships between foster parents and fledglings of brood parasites. Here, we present the results of a 5-year study about the relationships between fledglings of the non-evictor brood parasitic great spotted cuckoo (Clamator glandarius) and its magpie (Pica pica) foster parents. Sometimes, great spotted cuckoo and magpie nestlings from the same nest can fledge successfully, but most often parasitic nestlings outcompete host nestlings and only cuckoos leave the nest. We have studied several aspects of cuckoo post-fledging performance (i.e. feeding behaviour, parental defence and fledgling survival) in experimental nests in which only cuckoos or both magpie and cuckoo nestlings survived until leaving the nest. The results indicate that great spotted cuckoo fledglings reared in mixed broods together with magpie nestlings were disadvantaged by magpie adults with respect to feeding patterns. Fledgling cuckoos reared in mixed broods were fed less frequently than those reared in only cuckoo broods, and magpie adults approached less frequently to feed cuckoos from mixed broods than cuckoos from only cuckoo broods. These results imply that the presence of host's own nestlings for comparison may be a crucial clue favouring the evolution of fledgling discrimination; and furthermore, that the risk of discrimination at the fledgling stage probably is an important selection pressure driving the evolution of the arms race between brood parasites and their hosts.

Keywords

Brood parasitism Clamator glandarius Fledgling discrimination Fledgling period Non-evictor brood parasitic chicks Pica pica

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013