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A spatial and genetic analysis of Cowbird host selection

January 1, 1999

Our study of brood parasitism patterns in forest communities revealed the egg-laying frequency and host selection patterns of female cowbirds. By integrating molecular genetics and spatial data, we have the first published estimate on cowbird laying rates in field studies. The 29 females in the study laid only 1-5 eggs each, much lower than previous estimates from captive cowbirds and extrapolations from ovarian development in capture/recapture studies that had suggested that as many as 40 eggs could be laid per individual cowbird. Cowbird females also were shown for the first time to lay significantly more eggs within the home range areas they established rather than outside the home range. No patterns were uncovered for individual females preferentially parasitizing particular host species

Publication Year 1999
Title A spatial and genetic analysis of Cowbird host selection
Authors D.C. Hahn, J.A. Sedgwick, I.S. Painter, N.J. Casna
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Series Number 18
Index ID 5210834
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center