As fieldwork overlapped with October Big Day, four of us – Collins, Silky, Mairenn and Jess – joined forces with other birders from Choma to record bird species in the area. Organised by the Cornell Lab, the day sees people around the world contribute to one global bird list. Just a few of over 20,000 people who took part in total, we contributed 152 species including the Zambian barbet to the 6,700-strong list. Big thanks to hosts Rory and Dori McDougall at Masuku Lodge for a fantastic day!
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.