Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Nest defence in a cuckoo host: great reed warblers risk themselves equally for their own and parasitic chicks

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Behaviour

Hosts of the common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) may foster a foreign chick instead of raising their own progeny, which incurs a significant cost to their fitness. Chick recognition or discrimination is, however, rare in cuckoo hosts and has been investigated exclusively in relation to nestling provisioning. Here we test for the first time whether hosts differ in the willingness of risk-taking when they care for own or parasitic offspring. We investigated nest defence in great reed warblers (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) against three types of nest intruders while controlling for the number of chicks and the length of the nestling period. The most parsimonious linear mixed-effects model showed that the type of intruder and nest identity significantly explained variation in host aggression. Our results demonstrated that the hosts discriminated two predators from an innocuous species and that some nest owners consistently defended their nests more intensely than others. However, the birds did not differ in their responses in relation to the nest contents, indicating that neither the nestling species, nor the length of previous parental investment influenced the intensity of nest defence. Our findings are, therefore, in accordance with the general scarcity of chick discrimination by cuckoo hosts.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, v.v.i., Kvěetná 8, 603 65 Brno, Czech Republic; 2: Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, v.v.i., Kvěetná 8, 603 65 Brno, Czech Republic;, Email:


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Behaviour — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation