Does It Pay To Cheat?

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For some birds, trying to cheat your neighbors into raising your babies is just as much work – and is no more successful – than doing it yourself.

LEARN MORE
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To learn more about this topic, start your googling with these keywords:
Life history strategy: How organisms allocate energy usage to maximize offspring.
Parental Investment: Any non-genetic contributions by parents to help their offspring survive.
Brood Parasites: Organisms that rely on others to raise their young.
Mafia Behavior: The practice of repeatedly visiting victims to make sure they are complying.
Fecundity: The number of offspring produced by an individual over time.

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REFERENCES
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Antonson, Nick. (2020). Personal Communication. School of Integrative Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Bibby, C. J. (1978). Some breeding statistics of Reed and Sedge Warblers. Bird Study, 25(4), 207–222. https://doi.org/10.1080/00063657809476599

Davies, N. B., & Brooke, M. D. L. (1989). An Experimental Study of Co-Evolution between the Cuckoo, Cuculus canorus, and its Hosts. II. Host Egg Markings, Chick Discrimination and General Discussion. Journal of Animal Ecology, 58(1), 225–236. https://doi.org/10.2307/4996

Fecundity of the Brown-Headed Cowbird in Southern Ontario on JSTOR. (2020). Jstor.org. https://www.jstor.org/stable/4085739?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents

Graveland, J. (1999). Effects of Reed Cutting on Density and Breeding Success of Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpacaeus and Sedge Warbler A. schoenobaenus. Journal of Avian Biology, 30(4), 469. https://doi.org/10.2307/3677019

Hoover, J. P., & Robinson, S. K. (2007). Retaliatory mafia behavior by a parasitic cowbird favors host acceptance of parasitic eggs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(11), 4479–4483. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0609710104

Kilner, R. M. (2003). How selfish is a cowbird nestling? Animal Behaviour, 66(3), 569–576. https://doi.org/10.1006/anbe.2003.2204

Krüger, O. (2006). Cuckoos, cowbirds and hosts: adaptations, trade-offs and constraints. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 362(1486), 1873–1886. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2006.1849

Long, R. (1975). Mortality of Reed Warblers in Jersey. Ringing & Migration, 1(1), 28–32. https://doi.org/10.1080/03078698.1975.9673695

Oddmund Kleven, Arne Moksnes, Eivin Røskaft, & Honza, M. (2004, August 26). Breeding success of common cuckoos Cuculus canorus parasitising four sympatric species of Acrocephalus… ResearchGate; Wiley. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/230023528_Breeding_success_of_common_cuckoos_Cuculus_canorus_parasitising_four_sympatric_species_of_Acrocephalus_warblers

The Ecology of Avian Brood Parasitism | Learn Science at Scitable. (2010). Nature.com. https://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/the-ecology-of-avian-brood-parasitism-14724491/#:~:text=Avian%20brood%20parasitism%2C%20or%20the,the%20host%20(Davies%202000)