Following nest destruction, the laying of physiologically committed eggs (eggs that are ovulated, yolked, and making their way through the oviduct) in the nests of other birds is considered a viable pathway for the evolution of obligate interspecific brood parasitism. While intraspecific brood parasitism in response to nest predation has been experimentally demonstrated, this pathway has yet to be evaluated in an interspecific context. We studied patterns of egg laying following experimental nest destruction in captive zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata, a frequent intraspecific brood parasite. We found that zebra finches laid physiologically committed eggs indiscriminately between nests containing conspecific eggs and nests containing heterospecific eggs (of Bengalese finches, Lonchura striata vars. domestica), despite the con- and heterospecific eggs differing in both size and coloration. This is the first experimental evidence that nest destruction may provide a pathway for the evolution of interspecific brood parasitism in birds.
Shaw, Rachel C.; Feeney, William E.; and Hauber, Mark E., "Nest destruction elicits indiscriminate con- versus heterospecific brood parasitism in a captive bird" (2014). CUNY Academic Works.