what are the adaptive advantages of social/brood parasitism?
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The egg-laying behaviour of the cuckoo is an example of social parasitism . Of course, this is advantageous to the cuckoo as it does not have to expend energy in raising their young. Instead, they could use that time more efficiently, meaning they could go look for food to aid their survival or they could go search for mates; the time is used more beneficially to them, which otherwise would be ‘wasted’ on brooding and hatching the eggs. Social parasitism of the cuckoos is disadvantageous to the host birds. The host birds would have to expend energy and time to brood and hatch the eggs – eggs that do not even contribute to their own gene pool. The host birds are essentially helping the cuckoos and in turn, disadvantage themselves as they have less time to feed and reproduce to contribute to their own gene pool.