Trickster cuckoo chicks mimic foster parents youngs cries the minute they hatch

January 5th, 2009 - 6:47 pm ICT by ANI  

London, January 5 (ANI): Cuckoo chicks begin to imitate the cries of their foster parents young from the minute they hatch, an expert has said.

According to Professor Nick Davies, a Cambridge University behavioural ecologist, newly hatched chicks let out rapid frantic calls to ape a nest full of hungry young to urge their foster parents to bring them more food.

Davies, who filmed the tricksters with nature cameramen, found that their impersonating act was so triumphant that the duped adults often went on feeding the growing chicks even though they look nothing like their own young.

“For the first time, viewers will be able to see - and hear one of the earliest tactics that cuckoos adopt to stay ahead in what has become a feathered arms race, the Telegraph quoted Davies as saying.

“The rapid call fools the foster parents into flying back and for with as much food as they”d bring for a whole brood of their own young , and enables the cuckoo chick to survive to start the cheating cycle all over again,” the researcher said.

Davies, however, added: “Cuckoos actually have to work very hard to be lazy parents. The species they target are on the alert at every stage and, as the film shows, the cuckoo has to overcome many obstacles to reproduce, and so guarantee that an iconic sound of spring remains part of our lives.” (ANI)

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