Laying Eggs in a Neighbor's Nest: Benefit and Cost of Colonial Nesting in Swallows

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Science  04 May 1984:
Vol. 224, Issue 4648, pp. 518-519
DOI: 10.1126/science.224.4648.518


Intraspecific brood parasitism (laying eggs in another's nest) occurs widely in colonial cliff swallows (Passeriformes: Hirundinidae: Hirundo pyrrhonota). In colonies consisting of more than ten nests, up to 24 percent of the nests were sometimes parasitized by colony members. Laying eggs in a conspecific's nest may be a benefit of coloniality for parasitic individuals and simultaneously may represent a cost to host individuals within the same colony.