Friday, June 24, 2011

Cuckolded! The little red warblers fooled into feeding cuckoo chick THREE times their size


Open wide... not that wide: This tireless reed warbler tries to feed the enormous cuckoo chick

These gullible reed warblers had their work cut out when they were tricked in to thinking this enormous cuckoo chick was their own.

A cunning cuckoo had laid its egg in their nest and although the small birds must have been confused by their strange-looking offspring when it hatched, that didn't stop them from carrying out their parenting duties.

They worked tirelessly to bring the intruder chick food every few minutes and even tried to keep him warm - even though he was three times the size of them.

Please can I have some more: The cuckoo chick demands more food from the confused warbler

The cuckoo parent had managed to leave its egg in the nest unnoticed, as the breed have the ability to lay eggs that closely resemble the colouration of other birds.

The bizarre family was captured on camera by wildlife photographer David Tipling near Thetford, Norfolk.

Work cut out for them: The warbler even tries to keep the huge chick warm

Mr Tipling, 45, said this cuckoo chick scenario was rare as the birds aren't often successful in laying their eggs in another bird's nest, especially one that has been so well hidden in the reeds.

'Once this young cuckoo hatched he would have pushed the other eggs out of the nest and started demanding food,' he said.

'These reed warblers appeared to think the chick was their own, it was just their instinct to look feed it.

'The cuckoo was three times the size of them but they didn't seem to notice - they even tried to keep it warm by sitting on it and covering it with their wings.

'The chick will fledge the nest at around 18 to 19 days and will grow so big it will probably flatten the nest.

'But the warblers will just think they've raised a successful family.
'It was very exciting to see. I've been trying to photograph this for quite a while now.'

source : dailymail

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