Cuckoo bird and warbler relationship

Themes of Parasitology: The Coevolutionary Process

cuckoo bird and warbler relationship

With their landmark publication 'Cuckoos versus reed warblers: adaptations and but when the young bird is born it casts out of the nest those with whom it has A. Lotem, H. Nakamura, A. ZahaviRejection of cuckoo eggs in relation to host . Reed warblers are a little smaller than sparrows and each one weighs no of warblers' interactions with cuckoos, who 'parasitise' other birds. Jackson, Trish. "The Relationship Between a Cuckoo and a Warbler." EHow. Demand. Media, 29 July Web. 03 Mar.

cuckoo bird and warbler relationship

In April they fly north to breed in the watery landscapes of northern Europe where they raise their young in nests suspended from reeds. Sometimes they are tricked into raising cuckoo chicks which grow to four times their size.

He carefully parts the reeds until he can see a pair of warblers feeding their young in a nest.

cuckoo bird and warbler relationship

When several hours later he stands up, the intimate world of the warbler disappears into the great expanse of fenland and the wide East Anglian skies. Observation remains vital to learning more about the world, believes Davies. He got his taste for patient observation, for asking difficult questions why, for example, does the reed warbler accept a cuckoo chick so obviously different to one of its own? As an evolutionary biologist, Davies is also respectful of the observational studies of the early naturalists who laid the foundations for subsequent experimental work.

The ant has also evolved specific characters to aid in maintaining this mutualism.

The Relationship Between a Cuckoo and a Warbler | Animals -

The ants serve as a defense against herbivores and they also remove fungal spores in order to prevent fungal pathogens from entering the plant. The characters of both the ant and the acacia are mutualistic traits that have evolved for the interaction in reciprocal fashion [1].

However, coevolution can come at a cost, especially between parasite and host. In order for two species to both evolve, each much exert energy to acquire new traits. Investment in certain traits can be costly, and can lead to a decrease in fitness. For example, the male reed warbler increases surveillance of the nest to decrease the chance of parasitism [4]. This leaves the female reed warbler susceptible to fertilization by another male.

Neighborhood watch and more: How reed warblers watch out when there's a cuckoo about

The cuckoo birds also have costs to developing new traits. The smaller size egg more closely resembles the host egg but it is also an easier prey [4].

Both species have costs to pay if they are going to be successful enough to pass their genes to the next generation.

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Cuckoo eggs in these reed warbler nests are similar in appearance but do not perfectly match the variations. This evidence suggests that cuckoos are not locally adapted to their reed warbler hosts. Reed warblers cannot distinguish cuckoo chicks from their own A raft of previous studies have identified an ongoing co-evolutionary "arms race" between cuckoos and reed warblers.

Reed warblers evolved the ability to identify cuckoo eggs by sight which led to cuckoos adapting the appearance of their eggs. Reed warblers were also found to eject cuckoo eggs from their nests if they were more or less advanced in development than the existing clutch. Cuckoos were observed watching reed warbler nests in order to take advantage of feeding runs by egg-developing female reed warblers.

The parasitic species also evolved rapid laying to capitalise on these opportunities. The males aggressively defended their nests, mobbing potential cuckoo intruders.

cuckoo bird and warbler relationship