Cuckoo finch foists parenting on other bird species

09/25/2013 | Christian Science Monitor, The

When it comes to parenting skills, the cuckoo finch leaves it up to someone else. The bird lays its eggs in other bird species' nests, tricking them into raising the interloper's offspring, according to a study in Nature Communications. "Brood parasitism is a great strategy if you can get away with it," said University of Cambridge researcher Claire Spottiswoode, who co-authored the study. "If your offspring require care to develop and grow, and you as a parent can fob off the costs of providing such care onto someone else, you can save the energy that parental care would otherwise consume -- and rather spend it on producing more offspring."

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