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Behavioural ecology

Learn to beat an identity cheat

Parent birds commonly face the problem of distinguishing their own brood from foreign chicks. Learnt chick-recognition evolves only when parents do not mistakenly learn to reject their own young.

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Figure 1: Spot the cuckoo egg?

M. JONES/FLPA

Figure 2: Spot the cuckoo fledging?

D. MIDDLETON/FLPA

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Kilner, R. Learn to beat an identity cheat. Nature 463, 165–166 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/463165a

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