As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday, 12 June 2015

A cuckoo finch in sheep's clothing - Cuckoo finches in Africa have adopted a unique disguise to help them lay their eggs in other birds' nests

Date: June 11, 2015

Source: Australian National University

Summary: Cuckoo finches in Africa have adopted a unique disguise to help them lay their eggs in other birds' nests, biologists have found.

The cuckoo finch in Zambia has evolved to be almost indistinguishable from common and harmless female weaver birds, such as the southern red bishop, said Dr William Feeney, from The Australian National University (ANU).

"The cuckoo finch is so similar to the innocent bishops, that the target of the trickery, the tawny-flanked prinia, cannot tell them apart," said Dr Feeney, who did his PhD at the ANU Research School of Biology before taking a position at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.

"The cuckoo finch looks a lot more similar to the bishop than its nearest relatives, the Vidua finches, suggesting that it has evolved to be able to hang around prinia nests without arousing suspicion," he said.

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