Horsfield's Hawk-Cuckoo Nestlings Simulate Multiple Gapes for Begging

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Science  29 Apr 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5722, pp. 653
DOI: 10.1126/science.1109957

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Nestlings of some brood parasitic birds evict hosts' eggs and young soon after hatching, thereby avoiding discrimination by hosts while monopolizing parental care. Eviction carries a cost, however, because lone parasitic nestlings attract a reduced provisioning rate. Here we describe a form of visual signaling used by the evicting Horsfield's hawk-cuckoo (Cuculus fugax) to obtain sufficient food. The chick displays a gape-colored patch on the wing to the host parents as they deliver food, simulating the gaping display of more than one nestling.

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