A successful season of fieldwork has seen the collection of more genetic samples from Tawny-flanked prinias by Gabriel Jamie, as well as egg rejection experiments conducted by Tanmay Dixit. Jess Lund continued experiments on the colouration of Cuckoo finch chicks, started in 2018 by Jana Riederer. As always, field research was supported on a daily basis by Collins Moya and Silky Hamama, here with Gabriel in our study area at Semhawa Farm.
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.