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Bird vision and egg mimicry by cuckoos

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Some species of bird are brood parasites, ‘tricking’ other host species into caring for their young. This has, over co-evolution, often led to hosts with increasing ability to recognise and reject foreign eggs, and counter-adaptations in parasites to evade host defences, including egg mimicry. In some cases, this can lead to remarkable matches between the parasite and host eggs for colour and pattern. I will outline work investigating the level of mimicry in several species of brood parasite and host, including changes in egg coloration over time and the ability of hosts to detect and reject foreign eggs based on different visual cues.

This talk is part of the Craik Club series.

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