Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Masters of Disguise

A fairy-wren feeds a hungry Horsfield’s bronze-cuckoo fledgling.

A fairy-wren feeds a hungry Horsfield’s bronze-cuckoo fledgling.

By Naomi Langmore

To avoid rejection by their hosts, Australian bronze-cuckoo chicks are near-perfect visual and vocal mimics that can quickly modify their call to match the species they are parasitising.

Naomi Langmore is an Australian Research Fellow in the Research School of Biology at the Australian National University.

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