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Bill M. Strausberger Mary V. Ashley Community-wide patterns of parasitism

Summary: Bill M. Strausberger á Mary V. Ashley
Community-wide patterns of parasitism
of a host ``generalist'' brood-parasitic cowbird
Received: 20 December 1996 / Accepted: 17 May 1997
Abstract The brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater) is
a generalist obligate brood parasite. Despite intensive
study and growing concern over the negative impact of
cowbird parasitism on populations of many hosts, very
little is known about the factors in¯uencing community-
wide patterns of cowbird parasitism. Using systematic
nest searches, nest parasitism was studied over two
breeding seasons at a study site in northeastern Illinois
encompassing grassland, forest-edge, and forest habitat,
supporting a diverse avian community. Parasitism was
observed for 18 out of 34 altricial bird species found
nesting at the study site. A total of 299 cowbird eggs and
nestlings were found in 191 of a total of 593 nests. An-
alyses revealed several ecological and behavioral factors
associated with frequency of parasitism and the resulting
distribution of cowbird eggs. Much higher frequencies of


Source: Ashley, Mary V. - Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago


Collections: Biology and Medicine; Environmental Sciences and Ecology