Sunday Sketch: Sneaky wood ducks

Female wood ducks return to the place they were born every year. Here, a female laying eggs can either make her own nest and lay eggs in it, lay her eggs in other wood ducks’ nests, or both! This behavior of depositing young into the nests of other members of the same species is called conspecific brood parasitism. It is done to increase the amount of babies one parent can have, without investing all that parental care.

Sketch by Claudia Lu; fact by Lindsey Broadus.

[Edited by Isabelle McDonald-Gilmartin]


Lyon, B. E., & Eadie, J. M. (2008). Conspecific Brood Parasitism in Birds: A Life-History Perspective. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 39(1), 343–363.

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