Brood parasites are an incredibly interesting group of birds. Instead of going to the trouble of building their own nests and raising their own young, they out-source these functions to other birds. They will lay their eggs in the nests of other breeding birds and allow them to raise their young on their behalf. They achieve this through a number of adaptations. Some species mimic the colour and shape of the host’s egg. Others have chicks with structures in their mouths which hyper stimulate the parents to feed them. The adult or chick parasite will also often kill the hosts’s chicks or remove the eggs in the nest, thus ensuring that the parasite survives. However hosts are not completely helpless to this attack, hosts have co-evolved behaviours such as abandoning a nest if it is parasitised. However some hosts are capable of raising both their own young and a parasite, without any visible cost.
Here we present 25 of best photographs of brood parasites, enjoy! If you would like to share your photographs with us, you can upload them to the Facebook page with species, location and photographer as the caption. We will announce next week’s theme this coming Sunday.
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Steve Boyes has dedicated his life to conserving Africa's wilderness areas and the species that depend upon them. After having worked as a camp manager and wilderness guide in the Okavango Delta and doing his PhD field work on the little-known Meyer's Parrot, Steve took up a position as a Centre of Excellence Postdoctoral Fellow at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology. He has since been appointed the Scientific Director of the Wild Bird Trust and is a 2014 TED Fellow. His work takes him all over Africa, but his day-to-day activities are committed to South Africa's endemic and Critically Endangered Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus). Based in Hogsback Village in the Eastern Cape (South Africa), Steve runs the Cape Parrot Project, which aims to stimulate positive change for the species through high-quality research and community-based conservation action. When not in Hogsback, Steve can be found in the Okavango Delta where he explores remote areas of this wetland wilderness on "mokoros" or dug-out canoes to study endangered bird species in areas that are otherwise inaccessible. Steve is a 2013 National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work in the Okavango Delta and on the Cape Parrot Project.
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