They are notorious for their feckless parenting skills, leaving their offspring to be cared for by others. Now, it seems, cuckoos have other socially reprehensible characteristics: they are fraudsters. Zoologists from Cambridge University have shown how the cuckoo’s plumage allows the bird to pass itself off as a hunting bird of prey such as a sparrowhawk. By mimicking local predators, cuckoos are able to scare off birds from their nests, allowing them to replace any eggs with their own.
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