Limosa article summary      

[previous]

[next]

VAN OOSTEN H (2018) Dutch Northern Wheatears as hosts for Common Cuckoo. LIMOSA 91 (2): 71-78.

Northern Wheatears Oenanthe oenanthe are deemed unsuitable hosts for Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus because they nest deep in narrow burrows. Yet, occasional cases were reported in the past century. Here the occurrence of these ‘wheatear-cuckoos’ in the coastal dunes of the Netherlands is explored. In total at least 35 cases are known with multiple cases per year. The last record is from 1981, with an almost continuous string of cases in the first half of the 20th century up to 1942. It remains uncertain why this phenomenon has disappeared. Northern Wheatears declined around the 1940s and assumingly also during the outbreak of the rabbit-disease myxomatosis in the mid1950s. Yet, Northern Wheatears increased afterwards while parasitism of their nests by Common Cuckoo did not, with only sporadic accounts in 1965, 1978 and 1981 outside their former apparent stronghold in the coastal dunes near Wassenaar, Zuid-Holland. Despite intensive studies on Northern Wheatears taking place in three remaining populations since 2007, no wheatear-cuckoos have been reported. It seems reasonable to assume the wheatear-cuckoo is extinct in the Netherlands.

[pdf only for members] [dutch summary]



limosa 91.2 2018
[full content of this issue]