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1 March 2009 Proximate Mechanisms of Parasite Egg Rejection by Northern Mockingbirds
John Quinn, Kim Marie Tolson
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Northern Mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos) are known to reject parasitic eggs at an intermediate rate. However, proximate mechanisms of rejection remain unexplored. Our objectives were to examine the rejection behavior of Northern Mockingbirds in northeast Louisiana, explore if nesting date or egg color of parasitic eggs influence the rate that Northern Mockingbirds reject Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) eggs, and compare results to those of previous studies. Northern Mockingbirds rejected 68% of artificial eggs. Early nesting individuals rejected 50% of the model eggs and late nesters rejected 82%. Early nesting Northern Mockingbirds rejected 72% of light eggs compared to 27% of dark eggs. Color of the parasitic egg and date of parasitism may influence rejection rates of Northern Mockingbirds.

John Quinn and Kim Marie Tolson "Proximate Mechanisms of Parasite Egg Rejection by Northern Mockingbirds," The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 121(1), 180-183, (1 March 2009).
Received: 28 January 2008; Accepted: 1 June 2008; Published: 1 March 2009

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