Birds Fall In Love Too, Says Study

Posted: Sep 15 2015, 8:46pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Birds Fall in Love Too, Says Study

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Those birds who choose their mates on their own had better relationshoips and higher reproductive success than non-chosen pairs, according to a recent study.

A new study suggests that humans and birds are very similar in terms of choosing mates and forming loving relationships.

Like humans, bird relationships heavily rely on compatibility and attraction towards each other rather than just how they look.

For the study, researchers from Max Plank Institute of Ornithology studied a socially monogamous bird, Zebra Finch. They allowed several birds to choose their own partners. Half of bird pairs were kept intact while others split up and paired up with randomly assigned partners. Then, all those were left to breed in aviaries.

Researchers were surprised to find that birds who were allowed to choose their partners were having more successful relationships than the non-chosen pairs.

“Zebra finch pairs that resulted from free mate choice achieved a 37% higher reproductive success than pairs that were forced to mate.” Study reads.

Forced pairs were more likely to fail to fertilize eggs and be involved in more hatched offspring deaths compared to chosen mate couples. Researchers also observed that non-chosen males displayed the same amount of attraction towards their female partners like in chosen couples but, females find their non-chosen partners less attractive. They were less receptive to their advances and were not too willing to copulate with the assigned partner. The male partners also showed reduced parental care and they were more interested in courting female partners. Chosen pairs were found to be better at raising their offspring. Embryo mortality rate was observed to be same in both types of pairs nevertheless.

The findings support the idea that zebra finches “choose mates on the basis of behavioral capability.” The lack of reproductive success was due to the behavior, not genetic incompatibility. If female zebra finch finds her partner less attractive, she will respond less to her partner’s affection, which will lead to dissatisfaction in relationship.

The full study can be viewed here.

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