Africa’s vegetation is changing fast, owing to climate change and other results of human activities. How does this affect the distributions of interacting species such as brood parasites and their hosts? In this paper using data from the South African Bird Atlas Project, we show that parasites largely track changes in their hosts’ distributions, and that changing species distributions can set the stage for new potential host-parasite interactions between indigobirds and their hosts. Read more in the original paper by Guillaume Péron, Res Altwegg, Gabriel Jamie and Claire Spottiswoode, available open access in Journal of Animal Ecology.
In a new paper published in Evolution, Dr Gabriel Jamie along with Silky Hamama, Collins Moya and Prof. Claire Spottiswoode from the African Cuckoos team and collaborators from University of Puerto Rico (Steven Van Belleghem), Princeton University (Dr Cassie Stoddard and Dr Ben Hogan) and University of Cambridge (Professor Rebecca Kilner) provide evidence of host-specific mimicry in the indigobirds and whydahs of Africa. Building on the pioneering work of Robert Payne and Jürgen Nicolai, they provide quantitative evidence that nestling Vidua finches mimic the patterns, colours and begging calls of their host’s nestling, and qualitative evidence of mimicry of host movements.