Birds That Steal Eggs: The Ruthless Egg Thieves.

Some birds that steal eggs include the common crow, black-billed magpie, and the brown-headed cowbird. These birds typically lay their own eggs in the nests of other bird species and let the unsuspecting parents raise their young.

Birds that steal eggs are a common occurrence in the animal kingdom. Many species of birds engage in this behavior for various reasons, including avoiding the risk of raising their own young and saving energy. Some of the species that are known for stealing eggs include the common crow, black-billed magpie, and the brown-headed cowbird.

These birds are often experts at hiding their own eggs and mimicking the calls of other birds to avoid detection. In this article, we will explore some of the fascinating reasons why birds steal eggs and the impact this behavior has on the overall ecosystem.

Birds That Steal Eggs

Why Birds Steal Eggs: Understanding The Reason For Ruthless Behaviors

Birds that steal eggs are well-known to those who raise domesticated fowl such as chickens or ducks. However, many people may not be aware of the various species of wild birds that steal eggs from nests. In this blog post, we will discuss the reasons why birds steal eggs and the impact they have on the survival rate of the eggs and nests.

Specifically, we will explore the evolutionary reasons for egg stealing and the impact of parasitic birds on egg nest survival rate.

Evolutionary Reasons For Egg Stealing

Birds that have evolved to steal eggs may do so for various reasons. Some reasons are:

  • Better access to resources such as food or nesting materials
  • To ensure the survival of their own offspring
  • To reduce competition from other birds

Notably, nesting materials are crucial for many bird species. By stealing them from another bird’s nest and using them to build their own, the thief enjoys significant benefits.

Birds that have evolved to be egg thieves have unique adaptations to help carry out their nefarious acts. For example, some birds, such as the long-tailed cuckoo, which is native to new zealand, have strong bills they can use to break open eggs.

Others may attack the nest and frighten away the parent birds so they can make off with the eggs.

The Impact Of Parasitic Birds On Egg Nest Survival Rate

Some birds lay eggs in the nests of other birds. The new chick grows by feeding on the food brought by the host bird, leaving less for the host’s chicks. The behavior of the parasitic bird can result in a higher risk of predation because it may have to get rid of the host’s young to provide enough resources for its own chick.

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Scientists have found that when parasitic birds are forced to rear their own chicks, their parenting practices are inferior to those of non-parasitic birds. This inferior quality results in a reduced survival rate for parasitic chicks whose thievery had initially increased.

Birds steal eggs for many reasons, ranging from resource hoarding to competitive advantage. Such behaviors are fascinating to study and can give us insights into the adaptations and strategies birds have developed to survive. However, we must also recognize the negative impact birds stealing, and parasitic birds can have on other species’ survival rate.

Birds That Steal Eggs: The Ruthless Egg Thieves

Birds stealing eggs is not a rare phenomenon. Some birds steal eggs to supplement their diet, while others do so to eliminate competition. Whatever their reasons, it’s intriguing to see the extent to which these birds go to steal their food.

Below, we have compiled a list of the most common egg-stealing birds, along with their descriptions and characteristics.

A Comprehensive List Of Birds That Steal Eggs

Here is a comprehensive list of birds that steal eggs:

  • Common raven: Large black bird that can be found in various habitats. Known to steal eggs and raid nests of other birds.
  • Hooded crow: These black and grey birds are typically found across europe and central asia.
  • American crow: A bird native to north america, american crows raid other bird’s nests to steal eggs and nestlings.
  • Gray jay: A songbird native to north america, commonly called the “grey ghost” as they’re known to sneak in and steal eggs when other birds aren’t around.
  • Brown-headed cowbird: A north american bird species known for laying eggs in the nest of other bird species.
  • Great tit: A common european bird species that hosts the eggs of birds they have just killed in their own nest.
  • Common merganser: A bird that nests in tree cavities and regularly steals each other’s eggs from nearby nests.
  • Shiny cowbird: A brood parasite in the new world tropics and subtropics, well-known for placing their eggs in the nests of other birds.
  • Fan-tailed cuckoo: This australian bird lays their eggs in the nests of other bird species very quickly.

Physical And Behavioral Characteristics Of Egg-Stealing Birds

Here are some physical and behavioral characteristics that make egg-stealing birds stand out:

  • They are often larger and stronger than their prey
  • They are intelligent and highly adaptable, giving them an edge in hunting and survival
  • They have excellent memories and can easily locate nests where they have previously found
  • Egg-stealing birds can be aggressive and defensive when provoked, attacking both humans and other birds
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Egg-stealing birds are resourceful and often ruthless, using their cunning and stealthy nature as tools in their hunt for food. As fascinating as these creatures are, it’s important to note that they can cause significant harm to other bird species.

The Implications Of Egg Stealing In The Bird Community

Birds are fascinating creatures, with various behaviors that can either be good or bad for other species. One of these behaviors is egg stealing, which is a common act among some bird species. Egg stealing refers to the act of laying an egg in another bird’s nest or taking another bird’s egg to replace it with their own.

In this section, we’ll discuss the implications of egg stealing in the bird community, specifically its effects on prey bird population growth and survival and consequences of parasitic bird behavior on nest owners.

Effects Of Egg Stealing On Prey Bird Population Growth And Survival

Egg stealing can have significant effects on the population growth and survival of prey birds. Here are some of the ways in which this behavior may impact prey bird populations:

  • Egg loss reduces population growth and leaves prey birds susceptible to extinction.
  • Prey birds allocate more energy to defend themselves against egg-stealing birds, resulting in a decline in their reproductive output.
  • Prolific parasitic birds may harm multiple prey bird species by stealing their eggs.

Consequences Of Parasitic Bird Behavior On Nest Owners

Egg stealing can be detrimental to the success of nest owners. Here are some of the consequences of parasitic bird behavior on nest owners:

  • Parasitic birds may damage or destroy the nest while laying their eggs, making it difficult for nest owners to breed successfully.
  • Prey birds may spend more time and energy defending their nests, resulting in decreased egg-laying and a potential reduction in the size of their clutch.
  • Parasitic birds may introduce pathogens or diseases to the nest, making it challenging for the nest owner to raise healthy chicks.

Egg stealing is a common act among some bird species, but it has far-reaching implications. As discussed, egg-stealing can impact the prey bird population growth and survival by reducing the reproductive output and making them more susceptible to extinction.

Egg stealing can also be detrimental to the success of the nest owner by damaging or destroying the nest, introducing pathogens, and decreasing egg-laying.

Preventing Egg Stealing Among Birds

Birds That Steal Eggs

Birds are often seen as beautiful and peaceful creatures, but some birds have developed a mean streak. Egg stealing is a common phenomenon among birds, and it can be devastating for the host birds. We will discuss ways to prevent egg stealing among birds.

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Sealing Eggs Efficiently In Nests

For a bird mother, her eggs are precious and need to be protected from predators. One approach to achieve this is to make sure the eggs are tightly sealed in the nest. And here’s how you can do that:

  • Use mud or clay to seal any gaps in the nest.
  • Cover the nest with twigs and leaves.
  • Use feathers to insulate the eggs.

How To Keep Parasitic Birds Away From Host Nests

Parasitic birds, such as cowbirds and cuckoos, lay eggs in the nests of other bird species. These eggs hatch into chicks that outcompete or kill the host’s chicks. Here are some ways to prevent parasitic birds from stealing your eggs:

  • Create barriers around the nest using materials such as chicken wire, mesh, or cloth.
  • Place decoy eggs in the nest to deter parasitic birds.
  • Remove any parasitic eggs you find.

As a bird enthusiast, preventing egg stealing among birds is essential. Whether you are a bird watcher or a researcher, protecting the eggs can help maintain the bird population. With the tips above, you can do just that.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Birds That Steal Eggs

What Is Egg Stealing In Birds?

Egg stealing is a common behavior found in birds where they steal eggs from other nests to raise them as their own.

Why Do Birds Steal Eggs?

Birds steal eggs to raise them as their own, increasing their reproductive success by passing on their genes.

How Can We Stop Birds From Stealing Eggs?

Preventing access to nests and using decoy eggs are effective ways to deter birds from stealing eggs.


As we have learned, birds that steal eggs come in all different shapes and sizes, with varied tactics for their thievery. While it may seem like a cruel and unfair practice, it is simply a part of the natural world.

However, as humans, we can take steps to protect our own domestic birds and their eggs by employing certain preventative measures. We can reduce the damage caused by birds that steal eggs from our own backyard by moving the nests to more difficult-to-reach places or by placing fake eggs to deceive them.

Each species has its own survival instinct. Egg theft is one-way birds have adapted to survive in their environments. Birds are clever when they steal eggs; we should appreciate their ingenuity.

D. Silva
D. Silva

Hi there, I'm Erick, a bird enthusiast and the owner of this website. I'm passionate about all things avian, from identifying different species to observing their behavior and learning about their habitats. I hope my website can be a valuable resource for anyone who shares my love for these incredible creatures.

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