No change in common cuckoo Cuculus canorus parasitism and great reed warblers' Acrocephalus arundinaceus egg rejection after seven decades

Anikó Zölei, Miklós Bán, C. Moskát

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The coevolutionary process among avian brood parasites and their hosts involves stepwise changes induced by the antagonistic selection pressures of one on the other. As long-term data on an evolutionary scale is almost impossible to obtain, most studies can only show snapshots of such processes. Information on host behaviour, such as changes in egg rejection rates and the methods of rejection are scarce. In Hungary there is an interesting case between the common cuckoo Cuculus canorus and the great reed warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus, where the level of parasitism is unusually high (around 50%). We compared host rejection rates and methods of rejection from within our own project to that of an early study carried out and published almost 70 yr ago in the same region. Our comparisons revealed high and stable rates of parasitism (range: 52-64%), and marked fluctuations in the ratio of multiply parasitized nests (range: 24-52%). No difference was revealed in egg rejection rates after 7 decades (34-39%). Linear mixed-effects modelling revealed no year effect on the type host responses toward the parasitic egg(s) during the years of study (categorized as acceptance, ejection, burial, and nest desertion). Cuckoo egg rejection was primarily affected by the type of parasitism, as more cuckoo eggs were rejected during single parasitism than from multiply parasitized nests. Our comparison did not reveal any directional changes in this cuckoo-host relationship, except a slight decrease in the frequency of multiple parasitism, which is likely to be independent from coevolutionary processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)570-576
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Avian Biology
Volume46
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2015

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egg rejection
Cuculus canorus
parasitism
nests
nest
brood desertion
multiparasitism
egg
Hungary
parasite
reed
Acrocephalus arundinaceus
parasites
rate
methodology
modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

No change in common cuckoo Cuculus canorus parasitism and great reed warblers' Acrocephalus arundinaceus egg rejection after seven decades. / Zölei, Anikó; Bán, Miklós; Moskát, C.

In: Journal of Avian Biology, Vol. 46, No. 6, 01.11.2015, p. 570-576.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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