In Jeremiah 17:11, the verse states:

קֹרֵ֤א דָגַר֙ וְלֹ֣א יָלָ֔ד עֹ֥שֶׂה עֹ֖שֶׁר וְלֹ֣א בְמִשְׁפָּ֑ט בַּחֲצִ֤י ימו [יָמָיו֙] יַעַזְבֶ֔נּוּ וּבְאַחֲרִית֖וֹ יִהְיֶ֥ה נָבָֽל׃

Like a 'korei' hatching what she did not lay, So is one who amasses wealth by unjust means; In the middle of his life it will leave him, And in the end he will be proved a fool.

I am trying to identify the mysterious 'korei'.

Various commentators, including Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, Rabbi Meir Leibush ben Yehiel Michel Wisser and Rabbi David Kimhi all indicate that this is a species that has a habit of hatching eggs that are not its own.

Rabbi Meir Leibush identifies it as a "perniz" but it is unclear to me what language he is using.

Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki identifies it as a "cuckoo glontzant" - but he obviously cannot be referring to a regular cuckoo because cuckoos are brood parasites or obligate parasites, but do not bother sitting on other birds eggs.

Are there any birds known to science today with this odd habit?

Are there any birds with latin names (or names in any other language) that correlate to those provided by Rabbi Meir Leibush or Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki?

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    $\begingroup$ This may be a better for judaism.stackexchange.com. $\endgroup$
    – L.B.
    Mar 19 '19 at 13:40
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    $\begingroup$ The specific bird doesn't seem to be at all important to the passage; it seems most likely to be referring to a bird that has been a victim of a cuckoo: it's the other bird that is sitting on cuckoo's egg. I think this is not really a biology-relevant question because there is nothing in this passage that would allow a biologist (as opposed to a Hebrew scholar or perhaps linguist) to answer it. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Mar 19 '19 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ Also in your link on sefaria the translation says "partridge" - doesn't that seem like a reasonable translation? $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Mar 19 '19 at 16:18
  • $\begingroup$ this page adds to your discussion. However, I agree w/ Bryan, that ultimately this is not a biological question -- understanding the passage likely doesn't rely on a specific species. If you're strictly interested in the biology of the bird, then see my answer, as it should give you some initial info. To ID to specific species, however, cannot be done without further details about the bird. Just answering based on the name is really more of a translation question, not one about bio $\endgroup$ Mar 19 '19 at 17:13
  • $\begingroup$ I'd also ask whether the passage applies to wild birds (where it doesn't seem to make a lot of practical sense), or the practice of farmers having one kind of bird hatch out eggs of other species, e.g. chickens hatching duck eggs/ $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Mar 19 '19 at 17:48

Cowbirds lay their eggs in other bird nests to have the other birds rear their young.

According Cornell's All About Birds informational page on the brown-headed cowbird:

Over 140 host species of the Brown-headed Cowbird have been described, from birds as small as kinglets to as large as meadowlarks. Common hosts include the Yellow Warbler, Song and Chipping sparrows, Red-eyed Vireo, Eastern and Spotted towhees, and Red-winged Blackbird

So, to answer your question, there are many birds that will do this.

More generally, birds such as the cowbird that rely on others to raise their young are considered to be brood parasites.

  • Sometimes this involves intentional egg mimicry and sometimes it's not so secretive.

There are countless numbers of brood parasites and even more species that act as their "hosts." Your bird could be any number of them.

According to Wikipedia:

The subfamily Cuculinae are the brood-parasitic cuckoos of the Old World

So perhaps their host species would be a good place to start looking...

For example, a quick Wikipedia search reveals that the common cuckoo is one such member of the Cuculinae, and they have more than 100 host species:

More than 100 host species have been recorded: meadow pipit, dunnock and Eurasian reed warbler are the most common hosts in northern Europe; garden warbler, meadow pipit, pied wagtail and European robin in central Europe; brambling and common redstart in Finland; and great reed warbler in Hungary

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for this. According to the helpful link in your comment above, Maimonides writes "The korei is called alhajel (in Arabic...), and in this species the males hatch the eggs just like the females." - another clue. And the "perniz" that I mentioned from Rabbi Meir Leibush is the latin "perdrix" which indeed is the partridge family. Sefaria seems to be on the mark - this source identifies the korei as a sand partridge or a rock partridge. Biologists, does that fit in with what you know of the species? $\endgroup$
    – Doodle
    Mar 24 '19 at 0:45

Trying to be biologically relevant: to the best of my knowledge there are no birds that exists that deliberately want to incubate the eggs of other birds. From an evolutionary perspective, raising offspring is costly. However, like you mentioned there are birds that can act as brood parasites such as cuckoos, some duck species etc. The brood parasites then invest their time on other activities such as foraging and producing further offspring.


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