Cuckoo Finch eggs mimic those of their hosts, and the same Cuckoo Finch female commonly lays two or more eggs in the same host nest. In this paper we show that this increases her chances of tricking hosts into accepting the parasitic eggs as their own. By increasing the proportion of foreign eggs in the clutch, Cuckoo Finches appear to be able to take advantage of uncertainty in the sensory and cognitive processes that hosts use to distinguish foreign eggs from their own.
Read the full paper in Nature Communications [Open Access].
During this year’s British Science Week, we’ve been engaging with local school children in Cambridgeshire. Mairenn Attwood led interactive talks at the Thomas Clarkson Academy in Wisbech, a school partnered with ‘Teach First’ (a charity aimed at reducing educational inequality).