View Full Version : The Cuckoo


mildadhd
07-02-14, 01:16 PM
The cuckoo


Reed warbler feeding a cuckoo chick (Cuculus canorus)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5c/Reed_warbler_cuckoo.jpg/200px-Reed_warbler_cuckoo.jpg

Over fifty species in this family of birds practise brood parasitism; the details are best seen in the British or European cuckoo (Cuculus canorus).

The female lays 15–20 eggs in a season, but only one in each nest of another bird.

She removes some or all of the host's clutch of eggs, and lays an egg which closely matches the host eggs.

Although, in Britain, the hosts are always smaller than the cuckoo itself, the eggs she lays are small, and coloured to match the host clutch but thick-shelled.

This latter is a defence which protects the egg if the host detects the fraud.


The intruded egg develops exceptionally quickly; when the newly hatched cuckoo is only ten hours old, and still blind, it exhibits an urge to eject the other eggs or nestlings.

It rolls them into a special depression on its back and heaves them out of the nest.

The cuckoo nestling is apparently able to pressure the host adults for feeding by mimicking the cries of the host nestlings.

The diversity of the cuckoo's eggs is extraordinary, the forms resembling those of its most usual hosts.

In Britain these are:

Meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis): brown eggs speckled with darker brown.
European robin (Erithacus rubecula): whitish-grey eggs speckled with bright red.

Reed warbler (Acrocephalus scirpensis): light dull green eggs blotched with olive.

Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus): clear blue eggs.

Hedge sparrow (Prunella modularis): clear blue eggs, unmarked, not mimicked. This bird is an uncritical fosterer; it tolerates in its nest eggs that do not resemble its own.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polymorphism_(biology)

I was researching the term polymorphism and found this example fascinating.



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mildadhd
07-02-14, 01:35 PM
Interestingly, Cuckoo don't build nests either..

Cuckoo does not build its own nests, because it is a brood parasite. That means that female cuckoo uses nests of other birds to lay her own eggs.


Interesting Cuckoo Facts: (http://www.softschools.com/facts/animals/cuckoo_facts/119/)


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mildadhd
07-02-14, 01:48 PM
Brood parasite

Brood parasites are organisms that use the strategy of brood parasitism, a kind of kleptoparasitism found among birds, fish or insects, involving the manipulation and use of host individuals either of the same (intraspecific brood-parasitism) or different species (interspecific brood-parasitism) to raise the young of the brood-parasite.

This relieves the parasitic parent from the investment of rearing young or building nests, enabling them to spend more time foraging, producing offspring etc.

Additionally, the risk of egg loss to raiders such as raccoons is mitigated, by having distributed the eggs amongst a number of different nests.[1]

As this behaviour is damaging to the host, it will often result in an evolutionary arms race between parasite and host.[2][3]


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ef/Cuckoo_Eggs_Mimicking_Reed_Warbler_Eggs.JPG/220px-Cuckoo_Eggs_Mimicking_Reed_Warbler_Eggs.JPG
Four clutches of reed warbler eggs, each containing one (larger) cuckoo egg


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f9/Eastern_Phoebe-nest-Brown-headed-Cowbird-egg.jpg/220px-Eastern_Phoebe-nest-Brown-headed-Cowbird-egg.jpg
Eastern phoebe nest with brown-headed cowbird egg


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/ff/Sask_duck.jpg/221px-Sask_duck.jpg
The goldeneye lays its eggs in the nests of other females.


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/10/%28Molothrus_bonariensis%29_e_%28_Zonotrichia_Cape nsis_%29.jpg/220px-%28Molothrus_bonariensis%29_e_%28_Zonotrichia_Cape nsis_%29.jpg
A shiny cowbird chick being fed by a rufous-collared sparrow


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/51/Cuckoo_bee.jpg/220px-Cuckoo_bee.jpg
A cuckoo bee from the genus Nomada.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brood_parasitism


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ruby.149.42
07-02-14, 09:42 PM
It's really interesting isn't it Peripheral? Because it's like NS has designed in what we would consider behaviour that is completely out of order / unethical.

mildadhd
07-03-14, 02:06 PM
It's really interesting isn't it Peripheral? Because it's like NS has designed in what we would consider behaviour that is completely out of order / unethical.

All mammals would probably have a hard time comprehending, what the cuckoo is thinking.

Although, mammals do adopt other mammals, all the time, but I don't think these types of adoptions as predisposed.

Maybe the cuckoo, has some type of anxiety or something, unable to relax? (Guessing on that one, could be out to lunch)

Most reptiles raise themselves.

All infant mammals are totally dependent on their caregivers.

I read this mammalian emotional relationship, between caregiver and infant, has contributed to the mammals success.

I am learning about the cuckoos for the first time, please leave room for error in my posts.

Since posting this thread, I have read that there are some species of cuckoo who build their own nests (and I am assuming, raise their own eggs?).

Edit: It would be interesting to compare biologically the species of cuckoo that do raise their own eggs, and those who don't raise their own eggs, etc

Could be partially a learned survival thing?

Lots of things to discuss, like how this all affects the caregiver bird tricked into raising the cuckoo's egg, etc.



Thanks,


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mildadhd
07-03-14, 07:24 PM
The cuckoo duck leaves the step-incubators nest, the evening after being hatched, in this video.

Cuckoo Duck doesn't kill the other step-sisters/brothers?

Infant cuckoo ducks leave the step caregivers nest and raises itself?



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Mb0GOITRUU

mildadhd
07-03-14, 08:38 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SO1WccH2_YM

ruby.149.42
07-03-14, 10:06 PM
All mammals would probably have a hard time comprehending, what the cuckoo is thinking.

Very interesting point .. and it actually makes me think that we humans should fully understand it. Because ultimately what they're doing is using other animals to get their genes into the next generation with zero thought of the welfare of the other animal. And humans have been doing that in spades for a very loooooooooooooooong time. And now we're at the point in history where I would argue hard that we can survive perfectly well without harming (or I suppose taking the p*ss out of, which is what the cuckoo seems to "me" to be doing) other animals .. so humans should be able to understand this very well. (Most just don't because their focus is still inward).


Maybe the cuckoo, has some type of anxiety or something, unable to relax? (Guessing on that one, could be out to lunch)


I reckon a cuckoo absolutely could experience anxiety - birds have limbic systems so why not? Whether that's what's driving the egg-spread, who knows. I think this point is very convenientily ignored by many people - birds up have limbic systems and a wide range of emotional experience .. but people don't like acknowledging that because it kind of takes the enjoyment out of your foi grax (or however the hell you spell it) when you look too closely. Anyway, sorry, didn't mean to turn into an animal rights rant, just making the suggestion that humans have little problem understanding .. they just choose to close their eyes to a whole lot of stuff. The interesting question is whether the cuckoo does the same .. however I'd say lack of theory of mind would suggest not.


I am learning about the cuckoos for the first time, please leave room for error in my posts.

Error is the best way to learn I reckon. Also, big progress leaps often come from a result of "out to lunch" thinking so keep it up I say. Love that you question things so much (I read more on here than post).



Edit: It would be interesting to compare biologically the species of cuckoo that do raise their own eggs, and those who don't raise their own eggs, etc



Very interesting. And how the birds raised by the cuckolded adoptive parents compare to those raised by the genetic ones. .. Far out brussell sprout I think I've just realised where the word "cuckolded" comes from.

HA!! Just googled it and it is!Cuckold Origin

late Old English, from Old French cucuault, from cucu 'cuckoo' (from the cuckoo's habit of laying its egg in another bird's nest).
I didn't know that - did you? (there's probably tons of people reading this rolling their eyes but I never knew that!).

mildadhd
07-04-14, 12:25 AM
Very interesting point .. and it actually makes me think that we humans should fully understand it. Because ultimately what they're doing is using other animals to get their genes into the next generation with zero thought of the welfare of the other animal. And humans have been doing that in spades for a very loooooooooooooooong time. And now we're at the point in history where I would argue hard that we can survive perfectly well without harming (or I suppose taking the p*ss out of, which is what the cuckoo seems to "me" to be doing) other animals .. so humans should be able to understand this very well. (Most just don't because their focus is still inward).



I reckon a cuckoo absolutely could experience anxiety - birds have limbic systems so why not? Whether that's what's driving the egg-spread, who knows. I think this point is very convenientily ignored by many people - birds up have limbic systems and a wide range of emotional experience .. but people don't like acknowledging that because it kind of takes the enjoyment out of your foi grax (or however the hell you spell it) when you look too closely. Anyway, sorry, didn't mean to turn into an animal rights rant, just making the suggestion that humans have little problem understanding .. they just choose to close their eyes to a whole lot of stuff. The interesting question is whether the cuckoo does the same .. however I'd say lack of theory of mind would suggest not.

Error is the best way to learn I reckon. Also, big progress leaps often come from a result of "out to lunch" thinking so keep it up I say. Love that you question things so much (I read more on here than post).



Very interesting. And how the birds raised by the cuckolded adoptive parents compare to those raised by the genetic ones. .. Far out brussell sprout I think I've just realised where the word "cuckolded" comes from.

HA!! Just googled it and it is!Cuckold Origin

late Old English, from Old French cucuault, from cucu 'cuckoo' (from the cuckoo's habit of laying its egg in another bird's nest).
I didn't know that - did you? (there's probably tons of people reading this rolling their eyes but I never knew that!).

Thanks

No I did not know that.

In this case there is no LUST system connection.(no adultry.)

And lots of CARE system connection, on the part of both host adoptive caregivers. (even after the cuckoo leaves the nest)

The adult cuckoo ate an egg, laid an egg, and stole another egg, all at once.

All the planning that went into finding the nest.

The timing involved.

Sometimes I wonder if nature is forcing the adoptive parents to raise/work for the cuckoo?

What I can't get over, is the infant cuckoo, pushing the other eggs out of the nest?

Another topic is the cuckoo duck, who gets up and leaves, soon after it hatches and raises itself? (If I understand correctly)

I have been goggling around and I can't find any other examples of a bird, or mammal that raises itself from infancy, (adopted or not)?


Lots to discuss.



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mildadhd
07-04-14, 01:58 AM
Bold by Peripheral.

There are two types of brood parasitism, non-obligate and obligate.

Non-obligate brood parasites lay eggs in the nest of conspecifics (i.e. same species) and in their own nests.

Examples include several colonial nesting species such as Bank Swallows or African Weavers.

Obligate brood parasites lay eggs in nests of other species and have completely lost the ability to construct nests and incubate eggs...


..Other brood parasites have developed interesting strategies to ensure that their nestling fledges the nest. For example, African Honeyguide nestlings are born with sharp hooks on the end of their bills. They use these hooks to kill the host nestling, thereby reducing competition for food and nest space. After they mature these hooks simply fall off. Eurasian Cuckoo chicks maneuver under host eggs and chicks and dump them over the edge of the nest. Their backs have a neatly designed depression that just fits their potential competitor.

Not to be outdone host species have developed many defense strategies of their own. They include shifting their breeding season so it does not correspond to that of the parasite; outright attack of the parasite; warning calls; nest concealment; egg discrimination; young discrimination; and removal of the parasitic egg or young. Hosts may employ one or several of these strategies. Brood parasitism is one of the most interesting phenomenon in the animal kingdom and demonstrates the amazing relationships animals can have with one another.


http://fsc.fernbank.edu/Birding/parasitism.htm


These topics are fascinating.

I wonder if the infant cuckoo, would push its own biological cuckoo sibling/eggs, out of a non-obligate brood parasites cuckoo's nest?




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SB_UK
07-05-14, 02:26 AM
It's interesting that nature places such ingenuity on survival - the human problem though isn't survival - we can do that just fine if we choose to.
It's coming up with a motivational basis for survival.

I wonder whether we're the animal capital of suicides - apparently Shinjuku station has guards whose job it is to stop people committing suicide. Trains which're never late ! as if any of 'this' actually matters.
Something matters - but not getting to work on time, climbing the career ladder or having a large pension -

what matters is seeing through the pointlessness of that material existence - and in the process achieving freedom from material desire.

We're all gonna' die soon - so why not do something worthwhile and personally rewarding in the brief blink of an eye that we're alive.