MadSci Network: Zoology

Subject: How does a cuckoo know which bird species' egg her egg imitates?

Date: Thu Apr 24 11:22:27 2008
Posted by Celia
Grade level: grad (science) School: No school entered.
City: Marburg State/Province: No state entered. Country: Germany
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 1209061347.Zo

As far as I know, there are variations in cuckoo's eggs' colours and patterns. 
Does the cuckoo remember which bird species raised her or how does she choose 
the nest she lies her egg? Is the egg coulour/pattern only defined by maternal 
genes? If not, how does the female cuckoo know which male to mate, so that both 
were raised by the same species and thus to ensure the right egg apperance? 
Could the following be a solution: Are there local races of cuckoos which 
always choose the same host species and thus co-evolved a certain egg 
colour/pattern which resembles the hosts'? Thank you!

Re: How does a cuckoo know which bird species' egg her egg imitates?

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