Volume 3 Issue 1
Mar.  2012
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Canchao YANG, Wei LIANG, Anton ANTONOV, Yan CAI, Bård G. STOKKE, Frode FOSSØY, Arne MOKSNES, Eivin RØSKAFT. 2012: Diversity of parasitic cuckoos and their hosts in China. Avian Research, 3(1): 9-32. doi: 10.5122/cbirds.2012.0004
Citation: Canchao YANG, Wei LIANG, Anton ANTONOV, Yan CAI, Bård G. STOKKE, Frode FOSSØY, Arne MOKSNES, Eivin RØSKAFT. 2012: Diversity of parasitic cuckoos and their hosts in China. Avian Research, 3(1): 9-32. doi: 10.5122/cbirds.2012.0004

Diversity of parasitic cuckoos and their hosts in China

doi: 10.5122/cbirds.2012.0004

We are particularly thankful to all the bird watching enthusiasts who offered photographs of cuckoos and their hosts. We thank Jeremy Wilson, the editor of Ibis, Andrew MacColl, associate editor of Ibis and two anonymous referees of Ibis for providing helpful comments on this manuscript. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31071 38, 31101646), Key Project of Chinese Ministry of Education (No. 212136), the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation funded project (201104 0 67) and the Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University (NCET-10-0111). We thank the Forestry Department of Guizhou Province and the Kuankuoshui National Nature Reserve for support and permission to carry out this study, as well as X. Guo, L. Wang, X. Xu, N. Wang and T. Su for assistance with the field work.

  • Received Date: 06 Jan 2012
  • In this exposé we provide the first review of host use by brood parasitic cuckoos in a multiple-cuckoo system in China, based on our own long-term field data and a compilation of observations obtained from the literature. In total, we found that 11 species of cuckoos utilized altogether 55 host species. These hosts belong to 15 families, in which Sylviidae, Turdidae and Timaliidae account for 22.6%, 20.8% and 17.0% of parasitism records, respectively. The Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) had the widest range of host species, accounting for 45.5% of the total number of parasitized species (25 in 10 families) of all parasitism records and is the most frequent brood parasite in the country. Cuckoo species differed in their egg coloration and the extent of egg polymorphism with most of them, e.g. the Common Cuckoo, the Lesser Cuckoo (C. poliocephalus) and the Plaintive Cuckoo (Cacomantis merulinus) laying well mimetic eggs with respect to their hosts based on human being's visual observations, while others such as the Large Hawk-cuckoo (C. sparverioides), the Himalayan Cuckoo (C. saturatus) and the Asian Emerald Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx maculatus) usually laid non-mimetic eggs. The use of cuckoo hosts and egg color variation in China are compared with those in other parts of their ranges in Asia.


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