The notion of “love birds” pairing up with their mates to form a life-long bond is an enduring one, but a new book argues it’s simply not true. In fact, the “The Bird Detective,” which draws on 20 years of research from radio tracking and DNA testing, shows birds aren’t much better at relationships than we are. Many females, for example, will keep their eyes peeled for males more colourful than their partner, or one who provides a safer living environment. Males, meanwhile, are known to fertilize the eggs of neighbouring females, leaving their mates to care for the offspring. The main discovery, though, is just how common bird divorces are: most live birds take a partner for only a few months or years and divorce rates range from 99 percent in the greater flamingo to zero in the wandering albatross.
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