The cuckoos are the most variable birds in social behavior and parental care: a few cuckoos are among the most social of all birds and rear their young in a common nest; most cuckoos are caring parents that rear their own young with some females laying a few eggs in the nests of others; while many cuckoo species are brood parasites who leave their eggs in the nests of other birds to rear, with their young maturing to kill their foster nestmates. In The Cuckoos, Robert B. Payne presents a new evolutionary history of the family based on molecular genetics, and uses the family tree to explore the origins and diversity of their behaviour. He traces details of the cuckoos' biology to their original sources, includes descriptions of previously unpublished field observations, and reveals new comparisons of songs showing previously overlooked cuckoo species. Lavishly illustrated with specially commissioned colour plates and numerous maps, halftones, and line drawings, The Cuckoos provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date account of this family yet available.
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