Females have a larger hippocampus than males in the brood-parasitic brown-headed cowbird

Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) Science Article 20


Females of the brood-parasitic brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater) search for host nests in which to lay their eggs. Females normally return to lay a singe egg from one to several days after first locating a potential host nest and lay up to 40 eggs in a breeding season. Male brown-headed cowbirds do not assist females in locating nests. We predicted that the spatial abilities required to locate and return accurately to host nests may have produced a sex difference in the size of the hippocampal complex in cowbirds, in favor of females.

DAVID F. SHERRY et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA Vol. 90, pp. 7839-7843

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