Conspecific brood parasitism (CBP) is a common reproductive tactic in several animal taxa, especially in precocial birds. It has been suggested that host-parasite relatedness can facilitate the evolution of CBP. A recent model showed that the existence and accuracy of the kin recognition system is crucial for this to occur. I used field data to parameterize the model for the common goldeneye, Bucephala clangula, a precocial species in which CBP frequently occurs and in which a recent finding of nonrandom host-parasite relatedness has been interpreted to support the idea that relatedness and kin selection influence CBP. It turned out that possibilities to detect brood parasitism and accurately discriminate between kin and nonkin parasites are negligible in the species. The empirically parameterized model exercise revealed that relatedness and kin selection are unlikely explanations of CBP in the species. © 2004 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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