Animal Behavior

Behavioral Ecology

What is nest parasitism?

From an evolutionary perspective, if breaking the rules is to your advantage, you should do so—as long as you don’t get caught. Taking advantage of another’s hard work has been documented in a number of species, most notably the brown-headed cowbird. Cow-birds find food by following large mammals, such as cows, across open country and eating the bugs disturbed by their hooves. Additionally, when it comes time to reproduce, female cowbirds simply fly off into nearby woods and lay their eggs in the nests of other species, which then raise the cowbird offspring with (or instead of) their own.


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