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Johnsgard P.A. The Avian Brood Parasites: Deception at the Nest

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Johnsgard P.A. The Avian Brood Parasites: Deception at the Nest
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. — 409 p. — ISBN 0-19-511042-0.
Great advances have been made in the theoretical basis of exploitative social interactions such as social parasitism, and many well-documented field studies of this phenomenon in birds have been performed. Indeed, so many studies are being published on topics related to avian brood parasitism that some of the information in this book will likely become dated soon after publication. With the advent of modern biochemical analysis techniques, it is possible to identify eggs of unknown brood parasites, not only as to their species, but also at a level that permits identification of eggs laid by individual females. Thereby we may begin to verify previously speculative parasite:host combinations, get a grasp of the existence and significance of host-specific female "gentes," obtain better measurements of female egg-laying ranges during the breeding season, and help determine annual female egg production. Yet, part of the appeal of the avian brood parasites is that even such well-studied species as the brown-headed cowbird still offer fertile areas for behavioral and ecologic study using innovative field studies or sophisticated laboratory techniques. Additionally, the majority of the parasitic species lack simple field observations that would help fill in some of the all-too-frequent "no information" statements that are abundantly sprinkled through the species accounts of this book. For example, host species for less than half of the world's honeyguides have so far been documented, and the same is true of the bronze cuckoos. Almost nothing is known of the biologies of the hawk cuckoos, the several genera and species of endemic New Guinea cuckoos, or the New World pheasant cuckoos. Furthermore, we have almost no information on the actual costs (in terms of their reduced productivity) of brood parasitism for most host species, as well as the nature and effectiveness of their possible antiparasitism defense systems.
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