The Cuckoo becomes a secreteive and elusive bird which few of us see and the hidden mysteries of its lifestyle remain largely unnoticed. The Cuckoo is a brood parasite, one of only eighty species in the world which lay their eggs in the nests of other species who then rear the alien young. In Britain the Cuckoo generally lays its eggs in the nexts of Dunnocks, Meadow Pipits and Reed Warblers, but over fifty species are known to have received eggs of the Cuckoo. About 10-15 eggs are laid, always in different nests and when the hosts are developing their own clutch. This book describes the fascinating lifestyle of the Cuckoo and the many adaptations it has evolved to suit its parasitic breeding strategy.
Ian Wyllie developed a keen interest in birds and natural history at an early age. His first job as a bird keeper iin a small zoo in Somerset and later to the Nature Conservancy in Huntingdon. Now employed as a researcher at the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology's Monks Wood Experimental Station, he is currently studying the return of Sparrowhawks to an area where they were wiped out by pesticides in the late 1950s.