22 de mayo de 2020

Common Cuckoo egg laying and stealing egg from host species

Yesterday I witnessed a spectacular event. Something you normally only read in text books, but never expect to witness yourself... I saw the brood parasitism of a Common Cuckoo, happening live in front of my eyes!

Cuckoos show brood parasitism, which means they don't care for their youngs themselves, but use a host instead. The host can be different species of Passerines (in my case it was a Meadowpipit). This way of "breeding" means the cuckoos have to fool their host (the foster parents for their chicks) to be succesfull. If everything goes well for mommy cuckoo, the host species raises the cuckoo young as its own... (and in the end it will lead to a horrific scene, where the cuckoo young will kill its stepbrothers and sisters, to get all the food for itself).

There are many moments in the life of a cuckoo where things can go wrong. And cuckoos keep adapting to win this race. E.g. their eggs mimic the eggs of the host species: if eggs look more similar they stand a better chance for acceptance by the host species. Find out more about these adaptations in the wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_cuckoo

So what did I see? I saw a female tracing a nest of a Meadow Pipit and then she was laying her egg inside this nest. She scanned the area and then entered the nest. The Meadow Pipits were around and alarming when she took her chance. What happens after egg laying? Well, in a nest of, let's say 4 eggs, there can't be suddenly 5 eggs. That would be suspicious, right? And this extra egg might alarm the host, to get rid of this devilish egg or even abandon the nest. So the Cuckoo female has a cunning plan, to trick the Meadow Pipit! She removes one of the eggs, to replace it by her own! And exactly that is what you'll see in my pictures! Check the beak! She removes one of the eggs from the nest and carries it in her beak! Isn't that remarkeble?!!!

I was stunned!

Common cuckoo laying her own egg and stealing egg from host species

Publicado el mayo 22, 2020 09:06 MAÑANA por wouterteunissen wouterteunissen | 1 observación | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

06 de diciembre de 2018

birding in West Papua

Just finished a 3 week birding trip in West Papua. Seen almost every possible bop (=Bird of Paradise) and also many small brown interesting jobbies, but not many photos since my main camera broke down after day one.... i managed to get some pictures by digibin with my compact waterproof camera. Conditions were harsh ... A trip report is on the way.

Publicado el diciembre 6, 2018 06:36 MAÑANA por wouterteunissen wouterteunissen | 23 observaciones | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

05 de febrero de 2018


Amazing three week birding trip in Ethiopia, seen over 500 species, seen almost all endemic or near endemic species within 3 weeks. Guided by our superb guide Merid Gabremichael. Read our story written by Remco Hofland below (it's a full size tripreport 21,9 MB (!) with lots of pictures, this means quite a lot of data, so make sure you download it when using a WIFI connection):

Somali Ostrich

Publicado el febrero 5, 2018 09:51 TARDE por wouterteunissen wouterteunissen | 19 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario