Ornis Hungarica. vol.10. (2000) p.49-53.
Hosts of the Common Cuckoo in Hungary: egg mimicry, egg recognition and antiparasite defence
The present paper describes the main host species of the Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) in Hungary, and evaluates their possible stages in the evolutionary arms race. The Robin (Erithacus rubecula) is presently parasitized by the Cuckoo in woodland habitats, but the rate of parasitism is much lower than it was a few decades ago. The Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) was heavily parasitized (50%) ca. 60 years ago, but a present study revealed an even higher rate of parasitism (65%). The Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) used to be parasitized in a low rate a few decades ago, but there is no new record on parasitized Red-backed Shrike clutches. Experiments using artificial cuckoo eggs revealed that this species still has a well-developed egg recognition and ejection ability, so it can be regarded as an abandoned host.