New paper on embryonic movement in brood parasite chicks

Oct 27, 2021

Hatch from the egg

Stephanie McClelland’s paper entitled “Embryo movement is more frequent in avian brood parasites than birds with parental reproductive strategies” has been published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.  Stephanie measured embryonic movement of brood parasites and their hosts at sites all over the world. She found that compared to hosts and other non-parasitic birds, brood-parasitic birds show elevated muscle movement while still in the egg, which might help to strengthen their muscles so they can more effectively  kill or outcompete host chicks as soon as they hatch. At our study site in Zambia, Stephanie collaborated with several members of the African Cuckoos team, including Tanmay Dixit, Jess Lund, Silky Hamama, Luke McClean and Claire Spottiswoode. The data from this site focused on honeyguides, cuckoo finches, and Vidua finches, as well as their respective hosts. The study was covered by press articles in The Atlantic and The Daily Mail. Well done Steph and everyone else on the team!


Jess Lund awarded an R. C. Lewontin Grant from the Society for the Study of Evolution

The Society for the Study of Evolution has awarded Jess Lund an R. C. Lewontin Graduate Research Excellence Grant, which will enable her to expand her investigations into the fascinating lives of honeyguides. This grant is awarded to students early in their PhD programmes to assist them in enhancing the scope of their research. Thank you to the SSE for their generous support of our work!

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New paper on eggshell surface properties

Stephanie McClelland’s paper entitled “Eggshell composition and surface properties of avian brood-parasitic species compared with non-parasitic species” has been published in the journal Royal Society Open Science. This study measured structural properties of the eggshells of brood parasites and their hosts around the world. The study found that…

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