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This study is based on continuous video recordings made at 53 Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus nests each day during the laying period. Egg-laying by the Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus was recorded in 14 (26.4%) of these nests. By analysing the activity of the host birds around and at the nest, we found that this is probably not the only cue used by the Common Cuckoo when locating suitable nests to parasitize. Furthermore, in most cases there was no significant difference between the length of time the host birds spent at the nest in the morning and afternoon, thus providing little support for the hypothesis that the Common Cuckoo lays in the afternoon because it is less likely to be seen by the nest owners then. Parasitized Reed Warblers rejected the Common Cuckoo egg more frequently when they observed the parasite at their nests. However, contrary to what should be expected, most Common Cuckoos laid their eggs in the presence of the host(s), and in general their egg-laying behaviour (for example duration of stay at the nest) was less secretive than described earlier. When partially depredating host clutches, Cuckoos showed the same behavioural pattern at parasitized and unparasitized nests, indicating that the latter may act as a potential reserve for egg-laying.