Thomson, R.L., Tolvanen, J. and Forsman, J.T. (2016), Cuckoo parasitism in a cavity nesting host: near absent egg‐rejection in a northern redstart population under heavy apparent (but low effective) brood parasitism. J Avian Biol, 47: 363-370. doi:10.1111/jav.0091
Cuckoo parasitism in a cavity nesting host : near absent egg‐rejection in a northern redstart population under heavy apparent (but low effective) brood parasitism
|Author:||Thomson, Robert L.1,2; Tolvanen, Jere3; Forsman, Jukka T.3|
1Section of Ecology, Dept of Biology, Univ. of Turku, Finland
2Percy FitzPatrick Inst. of African Ornithology, DST‐NRF Centre of Excellence, Univ. of Cape Town, South Africa
3Dept of Ecology, Univ. of Oulu, Finland
|Online Access:||PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)|
|Persistent link:|| http://urn.fi/urn:nbn:fi-fe2020042322227
John Wiley & Sons,
|Publish Date:|| 2020-04-23
Brood parasite — host systems continue to offer insights into species coevolution. A notable system is the redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus parasitized by the ‘redstart‐cuckoo’ Cuculus canorus gens. Redstarts are the only regular cuckoo hosts that breed in cavities, which challenges adult cuckoos in egg laying and cuckoo chicks in host eviction. We investigated parasitism in this system and found high overall parasitism rates (31.1% of 360 redstart nests), but also that only 33.1% of parasitism events (49 of 148 eggs) were successful in laying eggs into redstart nest cups. The majority of cuckoo eggs were mislaid and found on the rim of the nest; outside the nest cup. All available evidence suggests these eggs were not ejected by hosts. The effective parasitism rate was therefore only 12.8% of redstart nests. Redstarts responded to natural parasitism by deserting their nests in 13.0% of cases, compared to desertion rates of 2.8% for non‐parasitized nests. Our egg parasitism experiments found low rates (12.2%) of rejection of artificial non‐mimetic cuckoo eggs. Artificial mimetic and real cuckoo eggs added to nests were rejected at even lower rates, and were always rejected via desertion. Under natural conditions, only 21 cuckoo chicks fledged of 150 cuckoo eggs laid. Adding to this low success, is that cuckoo chicks are sometimes unable to evict all host young, and were more likely to die as a result compared to cuckoo chicks reared alone. This low success seems to be mainly due to the cavity nesting strategy of the redstart which is a challenging obstacle for the cuckoo. The redstart‐cuckoo system appears to be a fruitful model system and we suggest much more emphasis should be placed on frontline defences such as nest site selection strategies when investigating brood parasite–host coevolution.
Journal of avian biology
|Pages:||363 - 370|
|Type of Publication:||
A1 Journal article – refereed
|Field of Science:||
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
This study was supported by an Academy of Finland grant (project #138049) and a Univ. of Turku Collegium for Science and Medicine grant to RLT.
© 2015 The Authors. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Thomson, R.L., Tolvanen, J. and Forsman, J.T. (2016), Cuckoo parasitism in a cavity nesting host: near absent egg‐rejection in a northern redstart population under heavy apparent (but low effective) brood parasitism. J Avian Biol, 47: 363-370, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/jav.00915. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving."