The evolutionary, ecological and behavioral questions posed by obligate brood parasites are among the most intriguing of all contemporary ornithological topics. Avian brood parasites lay their eggs in the nests of other birds and may be a major contributing factor driving several species of songbirds to near extinction. As one of the first books to present a comprehensive overview of this fascinating phenomenon, this work discusses the comparative biology and co-evolutionary adaptations exhibited by the five families of birds that engage in such behavior. Several chapters dealing with the comparative biology of both intraspecific and interspecific brood parasites, are followed by individual accounts of all known species--nearly 100 altogether, primarily cowbirds and cuckoos. Some of the more remarkable behavioral and structural adaptations of these birds include egg mimicry, juvenile mimicry, elimination by starvation or actual attack of other nestlings or host eggs, and even the learning and partial mimicry of host song traits. An extended glossary, a list of Latin names, 400 literature citations and range maps of all parasitic species discussed are also included. Detailed line drawings by the author enhance this synthesis of biological and ecological information.
Brood parasitism has become one of the most flourishing areas of research in evolutionary ecology and one of the best model systems for investigating coevolution. This subject has undergone remarkable advances during the last two decades, but has not been covered by any book in the 21st century. This book offers a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the fascinating field of avian brood parasitism. The topics covered include conspecific brood parasitism; evolution and phylogenetic history of avian brood parasites; parasitic behaviour used by brood parasites; adaptations and counter-adaptations of brood parasites and their hosts at every stage of the breeding cycle (before laying, egg, chick and fledgling stages); factors affecting the evolution of host defences and parasitic attacks; the role of phenotypic plasticity in host defences; mechanisms driving egg recognition and rejection; evolution of nest sharing or nest killing by brood parasite chicks; begging behaviour in parasitized nests and food delivery by host adults; and recognition of conspecifics by juvenile brood parasites. This volume provides a comprehensive reference resource for readers and researchers with an interest in birds, behaviour and evolution, as well as a source of hypotheses and predictions for future investigations into this dynamic subject.
In this fascinating new book, Nick Davies describes the natural histories of these brood parasites and examines many of the exciting questions they raise about the evolution of cheating and the arms race between parasites and their prey. Brood parasites fill their armory with adaptations including exquisite egg mimicry, rapid laying, ejection of host eggs, murder of host young, chick mimicry and manipulative begging behavior: ploys shown by recent research to have evolved in response to host defense behavior or through competition among the parasites themselves. While many host species appear defenseless, accepting parasite eggs quite unlike their own, many are more discriminating against odd-looking eggs and some have evolved the ability to discriminate against odd-looking chicks as well. How is this arms race conducted? Will defenseless hosts develop defenses in time, or are there constraints which limit the evolution and perfection of host defenses? And why are so few species obliged only to lay eggs in host nests? Have host defenses limited the success of brood parasitism, or is it in fact much more common than we suspect, but occurring mainly when birds parasitize the nest of their own kind? All of these puzzles are examined in descriptions of the natural history of each of the groups of parasites in turn. Here is a book with wide appeal, both to amateur naturalists fascinated by this most singular and macabre of behaviors and by ornithologists and ecologists interested in the evolution of ecology and behavior. The story takes us from the classic field work earlier this century by pioneer ornithologists such as Edgar Chance, Stuart Baker, Herbert Friedmann and others, through to the recent experimental field work and molecular techniques of today's leading scientists. We visit brood parasites in Europe, Asia, Japan, Africa, Australasia, and North and South America, to look at some of the worlds most interesting birds and some of biology's most interesting questions, many of which still beg answers from ornithologists in the future. Brilliant illustrations by David Quinn illuminate the species discussed, showing many behaviors never before illustrated and conveying the thrill of watching these astonishing birds in the wild.
Parasites that manipulate the behaviour of their hosts represent striking examples of adaptation by natural selection. This innovative text provides an up-to-date, authoritative, and challenging review of host manipulation by parasites that assesses the current state of developments in the field and lays out a framework for future research.
Throughout their lives animals must complete many tasks, including finding food, avoiding predators, attracting mates, and navigating through a complex and dynamic environment. Consequently, they have evolved a staggering array of sensory organs that are fundamental to survival and reproduction and shape much of their evolution and behaviour. Sensory ecology deals with how animals acquire, process, and use information in their lives, and the sensory systems involved. It investigates the type of information that is gathered by animals, how it is used in a range of behaviours, and the evolution of such traits. It deals with both mechanistic questions (e.g. how sensory receptors capture information from the environment, and how the physical attributes of the environment affect information transmission) and functional questions (e.g. the adaptive significance of the information used by the animal to make a decision). Recent research has dealt more explicitly with how sensory systems are involved with and even drive evolutionary change, including the formation of new species. Sensory Ecology, Behaviour, and Evolution provides a broad introduction to sensory ecology across a wide range of taxonomic groups, covering all the various sensory modalities (e.g. sound, visual, chemical, magnetic, and electric) relating to diverse areas spanning anti-predator strategies, foraging, mate choice, navigation and more, with the aim being to illustrate key principles and differences. This accessible textbook is suitable for senior undergraduates, graduate students, and professional academics taking courses or conducting research in sensory ecology/biology, neuroethology, behavioural and evolutionary ecology, communication, and signalling. It will also be of relevance and use to psychologists interested in sensory information and behaviour.
Why do baby sharks, hyenas, and pelicans kill their siblings? Why do beetles and mice commit infanticide? Why are twins and birth defects more common in older human mothers? A Natural History of Families concisely examines what behavioral ecologists have discovered about family dynamics and what these insights might tell us about human biology and behavior. Scott Forbes's engaging account describes an uneasy union among family members in which rivalry for resources often has dramatic and even fatal consequences. In nature, parents invest resources and control the allocation of resources among their offspring to perpetuate their genetic lineage. Those families sometimes function as cooperative units, the nepotistic and loving havens we choose to identify with. In the natural world, however, dysfunctional familial behavior is disarmingly commonplace. While explaining why infanticide, fratricide, and other seemingly antisocial behaviors are necessary, Forbes also uncovers several surprising applications to humans. Here the conflict begins in the moments following conception as embryos struggle to wrest control of pregnancy from the mother, and to wring more nourishment from her than she can spare, thus triggering morning sickness, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Mothers, in return, often spontaneously abort embryos with severe genetic defects, allowing for prenatal quality control of offspring. Using a broad sweep of entertaining examples culled from the world of animals and humans, A Natural History of Families is a lively introduction to the behavioral ecology of the family.
Reproductive Biology of Teleost Fishes is the first integrated review of the reproductive biology of the bony fishes, which are the most species-rich and diversified group of vertebrates. Teleosts display remarkable variation in their modes of reproduction, and this volume is intended to provide a framework for understanding the remarkable reproductive diversity of this group. It describes their reproductive biology using, wherever possible, phylogenetic analyses and life-history theory as a means to interpret the information. The book addresses the genetic, physiological, behavioural, ecological, evolutionary and applied aspects of teleost reproduction in a comparative framework that emphasises the adaptive basis of reproductive diversity. Reproductive Biology of Teleost Fishes provides a comprehensive synthesis of fish reproduction that will be of great interest to life scientists, particularly ecologists, evolutionary biologists, physiologists and advanced undergraduates, postgraduates and research workers requiring a comprehensive overview of fish reproduction. The book is suitable for courses in fish biology and ecology, reproductive physiology and reproductive genetics. It also addresses applied questions and will be of value for courses on fisheries science and aquaculture. Libraries in all universities and research establishments where biological sciences, fisheries science and aquaculture are studied and taught should have several copies of this important book on their shelves.
This book brings together scientific evidence and experience relevant to the practical conservation of wild birds. The authors worked with an international group of bird experts and conservationists to develop a global list of interventions that could benefit wild birds. For each intervention, the book summarises studies captured by the Conservation Evidence project, where that intervention has been tested and its effects on birds quantified. The result is a thorough guide to what is known, or not known, about the effectiveness of bird conservation actions throughout the world. The preparation of this synopsis was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and Arcadia.
The second part of volume 6 discusses sexual selection of ultraviolet and structural signals; melanins and carotenoids as feather colorants and signals; sexual selection and auditory signaling; odors and chemical signaling; sexual dimorphism; sexual selection, signal selection and the handicap principle; courtship and copulation; sexual conflict and its implications for fitness; intra- and extra-pair paternity; parental care (including cooperative breeding); brood parasitism in birds; applications of reproductive biology to bird conservation and population management; embryogenesis and development; molecular genetics of avian sex determination and gonadal development. Many new illustrations are provided throughout the volume.
First Published in 1997. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
In the past two centuries, cowbirds have increased in numbers and extended their range across North America, while many of the native songbird species whose nests they parasitize to raise their young have declined. This timely book collects forty essays by most of the principal authorities on the biology and management of cowbirds. The book's goals are to explore the biology of cowbirds, the threats they pose to host species and populations, and the management programs that are being undertaken to minimize these threats. The book is organized into five sections, each with an extended editors' introduction that places the contributions in a broad, up-to-date setting. The sections cover: The changing abundance of cowbirds and the ways in which their numbers can be estimated. Host choice by cowbirds, the negative effects of cowbirds on particular host species, and the daily patterns of cowbird behavior. Behavioral interactions between cowbirds and specific host species. Patterns of cowbird abundance and host use across varying landscapes. Management programs designed to control cowbirds and protect threatened songbirds.

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