Striking difference in response to expanding brood parasites by birds in western and eastern Beringia

Vladimir Dinets, Kristaps Sokolovskis, Daniel Hanley, Mark E. Hauber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two species of obligate brood-parasitic Cuculus cuckoos are expanding their ranges in Beringia. Both now breed on the Asian side, close to the Bering Strait, and are found in Alaska during the breeding season. From May to July 2017, we used painted 3D-printed model eggs of two cuckoo host-races breeding in northeastern Siberia to test behavioral responses of native songbirds on both sides of the Bering Strait, with particular attention to species that are known cuckoo hosts in their Siberian range. Each host nest was tested after the second egg was laid and, if possible, again 4 days later with a model of a different type. Although our Siberian study site was also outside the known breeding ranges of the cuckoos, we found that Siberian birds had strong anti-parasite responses, with 14 of 22 models rejected. In contrast, birds in Alaska had virtually no detectable anti-parasite behaviors, with only one of 96 models rejected; the rejecters were Red-throated Pipits (Anthus cervinus). Such differences suggest that the cuckoos might successfully parasitize naïve hosts and become established in North America whether or not their historic host species are widely available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-125
JournalJournal of Field Ornithology
Issue number2
Early online date2018 Jan 1
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Zoology

Free keywords

  • Cuculus canorus
  • Cuculus saturatus
  • Climate change
  • Common Cuckoo
  • Invasive species
  • Oriental Cuckoo
  • Parasitism

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