Recently, we were learning about evolution and the different adaptations organisms have to help them survive. This is when I came across the cuckoo bird which has a behavioural adaptation which is unbelievably horrifying yet brilliant at the same time!
What this bird does is that, when the coast is clear, the pregnant cuckoo bird goes into another bird’s nest and slowly replaces the eggs currently there with her own (by throwing them away!). This is called brood parasitism. It means that another bird raises their children, instead of her own (usually, the host birds that the brood parasite manipulates and uses are not the cleverest so they don’t realise the difference). This enables the parasitic parent to have more time to hunt for food just for them (which is why they’re so plump) and to produce more offspring, which they’ll then abandon once again, rather than having to distribute the food amongst their young and looking after them – how clever is that! Here’s a video showing them at their finest:
However, a serious issue this causes is a threat to the species of the host because their produce decreases which results in an evolutionary arms race between the parasite and host.
So, the cuckoo birds operate in such a way that their species never goes extinct whilst having to do none of the work themselves because they’re too lazy – hate to say it, but I’m deeply impressed.