Egg Characteristics Affecting Egg Rejection

  • Marcel HonzaEmail author
  • Michael I. Cherry
Part of the Fascinating Life Sciences book series (FLS)


We have reviewed the most important results relating to particular egg characteristics responsible for recognition and subsequent rejection by hosts of brood parasites. Hosts remove a foreign egg after determining that it differs in one or more parameters. In turn, brood parasites have often evolved various mechanisms to confuse host defences and prevent egg recognition. The most conspicuous one is egg mimicry—imitation of the appearance of host eggs. We evaluate and discuss egg rejection experiments, particularly from a historical perspective, and the use of cameras in experiments. Further, we describe assessments of egg mimicry, and in particular we focus on the role played by particular characteristics in discrimination including egg colour, spottiness, chromatic versus achromatic cues, the role of UV spectra, the blunt egg pole, and the shape and volume of the parasitic egg. In addition, we discuss how research methodology and the application of experimental approaches to studying avian vision have affected studies on egg discrimination.



We are grateful to Manuel Soler, Daniel Hanley, and Phil Cassey for their helpful comments and suggestions. This work was partly supported by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (grant no. 17-12262S to MH) and the National Research Foundation of South Africa (grant 96257 to MIC).


  1. Abernathy VE, Peer BD (2015) Mechanisms of egg recognition in brown-headed cowird hosts: the role of ultraviolet reflectance. Anim Behav 109:73–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abernathy VE, Peer BD (2016) Reduced ultraviolet reflectance does not affect egg rejection by Northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis). Wilson J Ornithol 128:334–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aidala Z, Croston R, Schwartz J, Tong L, Hauber ME (2015) The role of egg-nest contrast in the rejection of brood parasitic eggs. J Exp Biol 218:1126–1136PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Álvarez F (1999) Attractive non-mimetic stimuli in cuckoo Cuculus canorus eggs. Ibis 141:142–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Álvarez F (2000) Response to common cuckoo Cuculus canorus model egg size by a parasitized population of rufous bush chat Cercotrichas galactotes. Ibis 142:683–686CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Álvarez F, Arias de Reyna L, Segura M (1976) Experimental brood parasitism of the magpie (Pica pica). Anim Behav 24:907–916CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Antonov A, Stokke BG, Moksnes A, Røskaft E (2006) Egg rejection in marsh warblers (Acrocephalus palustris) heavily parasitized by common cuckoos (Cuculus canorus). Auk 123:419–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Antonov A, Stokke BG, Moksnes A, Røskaft E (2008) Getting rid of the cuckoo Cuculus canorus egg: why do hosts delay rejection? Behav Ecol 19:100–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Antonov A, Stokke BG, Moksnes A, Røskaft E (2009) Evidence for discrimination preceding failed rejection attempts in a small cuckoo host. Biol Lett 5:169–171PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Astie AA, Reboreda JC (2005) Creamy – bellied thrush defenses against shiny cowbird brood parasitism. Condor 107:788–796CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Avilés JM (2008) Egg colour mimicry in the common cuckoo Cuculus canorus as revealed by modelling host retinal function. Proc R Soc B 275:2345–2352PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Avilés JM, Møller AP (2004) Meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis) egg appearance in cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) sympatric and allopatric populations. Biol J Linn Soc 79:543–549CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Avilés JM, Soler JJ, Soler M, Møller AP (2004) Rejection of parasitic eggs in relation to egg appearance in magpies. Anim Behav 67:951–958CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Avilés JM, Soler JJ, Pérez-Contreras T (2006) Dark nests and egg colour in birds: a possible functional role of ultraviolet reflectance in egg detectability. Proc R Soc B 273:2821–2829PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Avilés JM, Vikan JR, Fossoy F, Antonov A, Moksnes A, Røskaft E, Stokke BG (2010) Avian colour perception predicts behavioural responses to experimental brood parasitism in chaffinches. J Evol Biol 23:293–301PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Briskie JV, Sealy SG, Hobson KA (1992) Behavioral defenses against avian brood parasitism in sympatric and allopatric host populations. Evolution 46:334–340PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Brooke M de L, Davies NB, Noble DG (1998) Rapid decline of host defences in response to reduced cuckoo parasitism: behavioural flexibility of reed warblers in a changing world. Proc R Soc B 265:1277–1282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cassey P, Honza M, Grim T, Hauber ME (2008) The modelling of avian visual perception predicts behavioural rejection responses to foreign egg colours. Biol Lett 4:515–517PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cherry MI, Bennett ATD (2001) Egg colour matching in an African cuckoo, as revealed by ultraviolet-visible reflectance spectrophotometry. Proc Biol Soc 268:565–571CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cherry MI, Bennett ATD, Moskát C (2007a) Do cuckoos choose nests of great reed warblers on the basis of host egg appearance? J Evol Biol 20:1218–1222PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Cherry MI, Bennett ATD, Moskát C (2007b) Host intra-clutch variation, cuckoo egg matching and egg rejection by great reed warblers. Naturwissenschaften 94:441–447PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Croston R, Hauber ME (2014a) High repeatability of egg rejection in response to experimental brood parasitism in the American robin (Turdus migratorius). Behaviour 151:703–718CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Croston R, Hauber ME (2014b) Spectral tuning and perceptual differences do not explain the rejection of brood parasitic eggs by American robins (Turdus migratorius). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 68:351–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Cruz A, Wiley JW (1989) The decline of an adaptation in the absence of a presumed selection pressure. Evolution 43:55–62PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Cuthill IC, Partridge JC, Bennett ATD, Church SC, Hart NS, Hunt E (2000) Ultraviolet vision in birds. Adv Study Behav 29:159–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Davies NB (2000) Cuckoos, cowbirds and other cheats. T & AD Poyser, LondonGoogle Scholar
  27. Davies NB, Brooke MD (1988) Cuckoos versus reed warblers: adaptations and counteradaptations. Anim Behav 36:262–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Davies NB, Brooke MD (1989) An experimental study of co-evolution between cuckoo, Cuculus canorus, and its hosts. 2. Host egg markings, chick discrimination and general discussion. J Anim Ecol 58:225–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Davies NB, Brooke M de L, Kacelnik A (1996) Recognition errors and probability of parasitism determine whether reed warblers should accept or reject mimetic cuckoo eggs. Proc R Soc Lond B 263:925–931CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. De La Colina MA, Pompilio L, Hauber ME, Reboreda JC, Mahler B (2012) Different recognition cues reveal the decision rules used for egg rejection by hosts of a variably mimetic avian brood parasite. Anim Cogn 15:881–889PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Endler JA (1990) On the measurement and classification of color in studies of animal color patterns. Biol J Linn Soc 41:315–352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Guigueno MF, Sealy SG (2009) Nest sanitation plays a role in egg burial by yellow warblers. Ethology 115:247–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Guigueno MF, Sealy SG (2012) Nest sanitation in passerine birds: implications for egg rejection in hosts of brood parasites. J Ornithol 153:35–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Guigueno MF, Sealy S, Westphal A (2014) Rejection of parasitic eggs in passerine hosts: size matters more for a non-ejecter. Auk 131:583–594CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hanley D, Samas P, Hauber M, Grim T (2015) Who moved my eggs? An experimental test of the egg arrangement hypothesis for the rejection of brood parasitic eggs. Anim Cogn 18:299–305PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hanley D, Šulc M, Brennan PLR, Hauber M, Grim T, Honza M (2016) Dynamic egg color mimicry. Ecol Evol 6:4192–4202PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hanley D, Grim T, Igic B, Samaš P, Lopez AV, Shawkey MD, Hauber ME (2017) Egg discrimination along a gradient of natural variation in eggshell coloration. Proc R Soc B 284:2016–2592CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hart NS (2001) The visual ecology of avian photoreceptors. Proc Retin Eye Res 20:675–703CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hart NS, Partridge JC, Cuthill IC, Bennet ATD (2000) Visual pigments, oil droplets, ocular media and cone photoreceptor distribution in two species of passerine bird: the blue tit (Parus caeruleus L.) and the blackbird (Turdus merula). J Comp Physiol A 186:375–387PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Hauber ME, Sherman PW (2001) Self-referent phenotype matching: theoretical considerations and empirical evidence. Trends Neurosci 24:609–616PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hauber ME, Moskát C, Bán M (2006) Experimental shift in hosts´ acceptance threshold of inacurate-mimic brood parasite eggs. Biol Lett 2:177–189PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Hauber ME, Tong LG, Bán M, Croston R, Grim T, Waterhouse GIN, Shawkey MD, Barron AB, Moskat C (2015) The value of artificial stimuli in behavioral research: making the case for egg rejection studies in avian brood parasitism. Ethology 121:521–528CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Higuchi H (1989) Responses of the bush warbler Cettia diphone to artificial eggs of Cuculus canorus in Japan. Ibis 131:94–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Honza M, Moskát C (2008) Egg rejection behaviour in the great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus): the effect of egg type. J Ethol 26:38–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Honza M, Polačiková L (2008) Experimental reduction of ultraviolet wavelengths reflected from parasitic eggs affects rejection behaviour in the blackcap Sylvia atricapilla. J Exp Biol 211:2519–2523PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Honza M, Požgayová M, Procházka P, Tkadlec E (2007a) Consistency in egg rejection behaviour: responses to repeated brood parasitism in the blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla). Ethology 113:344–351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Honza M, Polačiková L, Procházka P (2007b) Ultraviolet and green parts of the colour spectrum affect egg rejection in the song thrush (Turdus philomelos). Biol J Linn Soc 92:269–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Honza M, Procházka P, Morongová K, Čapek M, Jelínek V (2011) Do nest light conditions affect rejection of parasitic eggs? A test of the light environment hypothesis. Ethology 117:539–546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Igic B, Numez W, Voss HU, Croston R, Aidala Z, López AV, van Tatenhove A, Holford ME, Shawkey MD, Hauber ME (2015) Using 3D printed eggs to examine the egg-rejection behaviour of wild birds. PeerJ 3:e965PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Jackson WM (1993) Causes of couspecific nest parasitism in the northern masked weaver. Beh Ecol Soc 2:119–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Lahti D (2015) The limits of artificial stimuli in behavioral research: the Umwelt gamble. Ethology 121:529–537CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Lahti DC, Lahti AR (2002) How precise is egg discrimination in weaverbirds? Anim Behav 63:1135–1142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Langmore NE, Stevens M, Maurer G, Kilner RM (2009) Are dark cuckoo eggs cryptic in host nests? Anim Behav 78:461–468CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Lawes MJ, Kirkman S (1996) Egg recognition and interspecific brood parasitism rates in red bishops (Aves: Ploceidae). Anim Behav 52:553–563CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Li D, Ruan Y, Wang Y, Chang AK, Wan D, Zhang Z (2016) Egg-spot matching in common cuckoo parasitism of the oriental warbler: effects of host nest availability and egg rejection. Avian Res 7:21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Lindholm AK, Thomas RJ (2000) Differences between populations of reed warblers in defences against brood parasitism. Behaviour 137:25–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Marchetti K (2000) Egg rejection in a passerine bird: size does matter. Anim Behav 59:877–883PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Martín-Vivaldi M, Soler M, Møller AP (2002) Unrealistically high costs of rejecting artificial model eggs in cuckoo Cuculus canorus hosts. J Avian Biol 33:295–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Mermoz ME, Reboreda JC (1994) Brood parasitism of the shiny cowbird, Molothrus bonariensis, on the brown-and-yellow marshbird, Pseudoleistes virescens. Condor 96:716–721CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Moksnes A, Røskaft E (1989) Adaptations of meadow pipits to parasitism by the common cuckoo. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 24:25–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Moksnes A, Røskaft E (1993) Rejection of cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) eggs by meadow pipits (Anthus pratensis). Behav Ecol 4:120–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Moksnes A, Røskaft E (1995) Egg-morphs and host preferences in the common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) – an analysis of cuckoo and host eggs from European museum collections. J Zool 236:625–648CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Moksnes A, Røskaft E, Braa AT (1991) Rejection behaviour by common cuckoo hosts towards artificial brood parasite eggs. Auk 108:348–354Google Scholar
  64. Moreno J, Lobato E, Morales J (2011) Eggshell blue-green colouration fades immediately after oviposition: a cautionary note about measuring natural egg. Ornis Fenn 88:51–56Google Scholar
  65. Moskát C, Hauber M (2007) Conflict between egg recognition and egg rejection decisions in common cuckoo Cuculus canorus hosts. Anim Cogn 10:377–386PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Moskát C, Szekely T, Kisbenedek T, Karcza Z, Bártol I (2003) The importance of nest cleaning in egg rejection behaviour of great reed warblers Acrocephalus arundinaceus. J Avian Biol 34:16–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Moskát C, Avilés JM, Bán M, Hargitai R, Zölei A (2008a) Experimental support for the use of egg uniformity in parasite discrimination by cuckoo hosts. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 62:1885–1890CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Moskát C, Szekely T, Cuthill IC, Kisbenedek T (2008b) Hosts’ responses to parasitic eggs: which cues elicit hosts’ egg discrimination? Ethology 114:186–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Moskát C, Bán M, Szekely T, Komdeur J, Lucassen RWG, van Boheemen LA, Hauber ME (2010) Discordancy or template-based recognition? Dissecting the cognitive basis of the ejection of foreign eggs in hosts of avian brood parasites. J Exp Biol 213:1976–1983PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Moskát C, Zoelei A, Bán M, Elek Z, Tong L, Geltsch N, Hauber ME (2014) How to spot a stranger's egg? A mimicry-specific discordancy effect in the recognition of parasitic eggs. Ethology 120:616–626CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Nakamura H, Kubota S, Suzuki R (1998) Co-evolution between the common cuckoo and its major hosts in Japan. In: Rothstein SI, Robinson SK (eds) Parasitic birds and their hosts. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 94–112Google Scholar
  72. Navarro JY, Lahti DC (2014) Light dulls and darkens bird eggs. PLoS One 9:e116112PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Ortega CP, Cruz A (1988) Mechanisms of egg acceptance by marsh-dwelling blackbirds. Condor 90:349–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Payne R, Payne L (1998) Brood parasitism by cowbirds: risks and effects on reproductive success and survival in indigo buntings. Behav Ecol 9:64–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Peer BD, Rothstein SK, Delaney SK, Fleischer RC (2007) Defence behaviour against brood parasitism is deeply rooted in mainland and island scrub-jays. Anim Behav 73:55–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Polačiková L, Grim T (2010) Blunt egg pole holds cues for alien egg discrimination: experimental evidence. J Avian Biol 41:111–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Polačiková L, Honza M, Procházka P, Topercer J, Stokke BG (2007) Colour characteristics of the blunt egg pole: cues for recognition of parasitic eggs as revealed by reflectance spectrophotometry. Anim Behav 74:419–427CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Polačiková L, Stokke BG, Procházka P, Honza M, Moksnes A, Røskaft E (2010) The role of blunt egg pole characteristics for recognition of eggs in the song thrush (Turdus philomelos). Behaviour 147:465–478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Polačiková L, Takasu F, Stokke BG, Moksnes A, Røskaft E, Cassey P, Hauber ME, Grim T (2013) Egg arrangement in avian clutches covaries with the rejection of foreign eggs. Anim Cogn 16:819–828PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Požgayová M, Procházka P, Honza M (2009) Sex-specific defence behaviour against brood parasitism in a host with female-only incubation. Behav Process 81:34–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Požgayová M, Procházka P, Polačiková L, Honza M (2011) Closer clutch inspection – quicker egg ejection: timing of host responses toward parasitic eggs. Behav Ecol 22:46–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Prather JW, Cruz A, Weaver PF, Wiley JW (2007) Effects of experimental egg composition on rejection by village weavers (Ploceus cucullatus). Wilson J Ornithol 119:703–711CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Rensch B (1925) Verhalten von Singvӧgeln bei Aenderung des Geleges. Ornithol Monatschr 33:169–173Google Scholar
  84. Roncalli G, Ibanéz-Álamo JD, Soler M (2017) Size and material of model parasitic eggs affect the rejection response of Western Bonelli’s warbler Phylloscopus bonelli. Ibis 159:113–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Rothstein SI (1974) Mechanisms of avian egg recognition: possible learned and innate factors. Auk 91:796–807CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Rothstein SI (1982) Mechanisms of avian egg recognition: which egg parameters elicit responses by rejecter species? Behav Ecol Sociobiol 11:229–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Ruíz-Raya F, Soler M, Sanchez-Perez LLI, Ibanez-Alamo JD (2015) Could a factor that does not affect egg recognition influence the decision of rejection? PLoS One 10:e0135624PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Sackmann P, Reboreda JC (2003) A comparative study of shiny cowbird parasitism of two large hosts, the chalk-browed mockingbird and the rufous-bellied thrush. Condor 105:728–736CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Sealy SG (1992) Removal of yellow warbler eggs in association with cowbird parasitism. Condor 94:40–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Sealy SG (1995) Burial of cowbird eggs by parasitized yellow warblers: an empirical and experimental study. Anim Behav 49:877–889CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Sealy SG, Underwood TJ (2012) Egg discrimination by hosts and obligate brood parasites: a historical perspective and new synthesis. Chin Birds 3:274–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Segura LN, Di Sallo FG, Mahler B, Reboreda JC (2016) Red-crested cardinals use color and width as cues to reject shiny cowbird eggs. Auk 133:308–315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Soler M (1990) Relationship between the great spotted cuckoo Clamator glandarius and its corvid hosts in a recently colonized area. Ornis Scand 21:212–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Soler M (2014) Long-term coevolution between avian brood parasites and their host. Biol Rev 89:688–704PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Soler M, Møller AP (1990) Duration of sympatry and coevolution between the great spotted cuckoo and its magpie host. Nature 343:748–750CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Soler JJ, Martinez JG, Soler M, Møller AP (1999a) Host sexual selection and cuckoo parasitism: an analysis of nest size in sympatric and allopatric magpie Pica pica populations parasitized by the great spotted cuckoo Clamator glandarius. Proc R Soc B 266:1765–1771CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Soler JJ, Martinez JG, Soler M, Møller AP (1999b) Genetic and geographic variation in rejection behavior of cuckoo eggs by European magpie populations: an experimental test of rejecter-gene flow. Evolution 53:947–956PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Soler JJ, Soler M, Møller AP (2000) Host recognition of parasite eggs and the physical appearance of host eggs: the magpie and its brood parasite the great spotted cuckoo. Etología 8:9–16Google Scholar
  99. Soler M, Martín-Vivaldi M, Pérez-Contreras T (2002) Identification of the sex responsible recognition and the method of ejection of parasitic eggs in some potential common cuckoo hosts. Ethology 108:1093–1101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Soler JJ, Avilés JM, Soler M, Møller AP (2003) Evolution of host egg mimicry in a brood parasite, the great spotted cuckoo. Biol J Linn Soc 79:551–563CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Soler M, Fernandez-Morante J, Espinosa F, Martín-Vivaldi M (2012) Pecking but accepting the parasitic eggs may not reflect ejection failure: the role of motivation. Ethology 118:662–672CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Soler M, Ruiz-Raya F, Roncalli G, Ibáñez-Álamo JD (2015) Nest desertion cannot be considered an egg-rejection mechanism in a medium-sized host: an experimental study with the common blackbird Turdus merula. J Avian Biol 46:369–377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Soler M, Ruiz-Raya F, Roncalli G, Ibanez-Alamo JD (2017) Relationships between egg-recognition and egg-ejection in a grasp-ejector species. PLoS One 12:e0166283PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Spottiswoode C (2013) A brood parasite selects for its own egg traits. Biol Lett 9:20130573PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  105. Spottiswoode C, Stevens M (2010) Visual modelling shows that avian host parents use multiple visual cues in rejecting parasitic eggs. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107:8672–8676PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  106. Starling M, Heinsohn R, Cockburn A, Langmore NE (2006) Cryptic gentes revealed in pallid cuckoos Cuculus pallidus using reflectance spectrophotometry. Proc R Soc B 273:1929–1934PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  107. Stoddard MC, Stevens M (2010) Pattern mimicry of host eggs by the common cuckoo, as seen through a bird’s eye. Proc R Soc B 277:1387–1393PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  108. Stoddard MC, Kilner RM, Town C (2014) Pattern recognition algorithm reveals how birds evolve individual egg pattern. Nat Commun 5:4117PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  109. Stokke BG, Hafstad I, Rudolfsen G, Moksnes A, Møller AP, Røskaft E, Soler M (2008) Predictors of resistance to brood parasitism within and among reed warbler populations. Behav Ecol 19:612–620CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  110. Stokke BG, Polačiková L, Dyrcz A, Hafstad I, Moksnes E, Røskaft E (2010) Responses of reed warblers Acrocephalus scirpaceus to non-mimetic eggs of different sizes in a nest parasitism experiment. Acta Ornithol 45:98–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  111. Šulc M, Procházka P, Čapek M, Honza M (2016) Birds use eggshell UV reflectance when recognizing non-mimetic parasitic eggs. Behav Ecol 27:677–684CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  112. Swynnerton CFM (1918) Rejections by birds of eggs unlike their own: with remarks on some of the cuckoo problems. Ibis Ser 10 6:127–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  113. Underwood TJ, Sealy SG (2006a) Influence of shape on egg discrimination in American robins and gray catbirds. Ethology 112:164–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  114. Underwood TJ, Sealy S (2006b) Parameters of brown-headed cowbird Molothrus ater egg discrimination in warbling vireos Vireo gilvus. J Avian Biol 37:457–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  115. Underwood TJ, Sealy SG (2008) UV reflectance of eggs of brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater) and accepter and rejecter hosts. J Ornithol 149:313–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  116. Vikan JR, Stokke BG, Rutila J, Huhta E, Moksnes A, Røskaft E (2010) Evolution of defences against cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) parasitism in bramblings (Fringilla montifringilla): a comparison of four populations in Fennoscandia. Evol Ecol 24:1141–1157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  117. Vorobyev M, Osorio D (1998) Receptor noise as a determinant of colour thresholds. Proc R Soc Lond B 265:351–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  118. Vorobyev M, Osorio D, Bennett ATD, Marshall NJ, Cuthill IC (1998) Tetrachromacy, oil droplets and bird plumage colours. J Comp Physiol A 183:621–633PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  119. Yang CC, Liu Y, Zeng LJ, Liang W (2014) Egg color variation, but not egg rejection behavior, changes in a cuckoo host breeding in the absence of brood parasitism. Ecol Evol 4:2239–2246PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  120. Zoelei A, Hauber M, Geltsch N (2012) Asymmetrical signal content of egg shape as predictor of egg rejection by great reed warblers, hosts of the common cuckoo. Behaviour 149:391–406CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Vertebrate Biology AS CRBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Botany and ZoologyUniversity of StellenboschMatielandSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations