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Animal Themes
Birds
Cuckoos



Cuckoos
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.77

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    black-billed, bronzy, canorus, coerce, coo-coo, cuckoo, dupe, emerald-green, familial, habitual, maculates, nonetheless, oblivious, often-seen, opportune, parasitism
     content words:    North America, Black Forest


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Cuckoos   

1     Cuckoos are probably the best con artists of all birds! That is because they can dupe another bird into brooding and rearing their own offspring. We call such birds brood parasites.
 
2     To be fair, of about 150 different cuckoo species, not all practice brood parasitism. Nevertheless, the cunning reputation of some cuckoos makes cuckoos famous and intriguing.
 
3     Let's use the common cuckoo of Eurasia and Africa as an example. When a female common cuckoo is ready to lay her egg, she must first find a bird species whose eggs resemble hers. The reed warbler is a perfect choice. All she needs next is an opportune moment during which both parents are away from the nest running errands. Then she can sneak in and deposit her egg inside. Once that is done, she flies away and never bothers to pay the host family or her chick another visit. When the reed warbler couple comes back, they do not notice anything unusual. They continue incubation.

Paragraphs 4 to 7:
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Birds
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