JUN 24, 2016 10:05 AM PDT

Male Sparrows Retaliate to Unfaithful Partners by Providing Less Food

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Sparrows, like humans, are a monogamous species that prefer to live with one partner for their entire life. Of course, they’re also not known for being the most faithful of species in the world, and so they end up cheating on their partners for another bird.
 
The only problem is, like every relationship where this happens, the other partner almost always finds out, and things get pretty nasty afterwards.
 

Male sparrows retaliate to cheating partners by providing less food for the nest.

 
According to a study performed by Imperial College London, male sparrows will retaliate to a female partner that they think was unfaithful by providing less food to the nest. This, of course, affects the health and well-being of the female, as well as any babies that are in the nest with them.
 
The details, which talk about the scientific observations of 200 male sparrows and 194 female sparrows, are published in the journal American Naturalist.
 
“Males changed their behavior based on their partner. When they switched from a faithful partner to one prone to infidelity, they provided less food for their brood,” said lead researcher Dr Julia Schroeder.
 
Consider it an act of rejection – after the man of the house finds out that the woman isn’t faithful to him, he’s just going to cut off her resources and stop making life so easy for her.
 
The behavior is much like that of how humans would react in a similar situation, apart from the violence that would likely occur in a human relationship, which is very interesting to observe in another species.
 
It’s believed that female sparrows will act unfaithfully when they believe they’ve found a fitter and more genetically-adequate specimen to mate with that is more attentive to her offspring, but male sparrows have a different motive because they will act unfaithfully when their main goal is to reproduce as many times as possible.
 
It turns out that the most common reason female sparrows cheat is because the father simply doesn’t pull his own weight around the nest and the female gets tired of it and goes off looking for better alternatives.
 
The researchers even attempted to switch chicks from one nest to another to see whether or not the male was able to tell if the chicks weren’t his or not, and it seemed that the males would continue to feed the younglings so long as he believed his female partner was faithful, suggesting that unfaithful hints probably come from the female’s behavior, and not from the presence of stranger chicks themselves.
 
“If chicks were switched into a nest where the female was faithful, then the father at that nest kept up his hard work providing for the chicks, suggesting they have no mechanism, such as smell, to determine which chicks are theirs,” said Dr Schroeder.
 
“Instead, the males may use cues from the female’s behaviour during her fertile period – for example how long she spends away from the nest.”
 
So what do you know, humans aren’t the only creatures in the world that have feelings of jealousy or anger towards cheating partners, and they certainly aren’t the only creatures in the world that retaliate because of it.
 
Source: Imperial College London via The Telegraph

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
APR 13, 2020
Plants & Animals
APR 13, 2020
Lion Cubs' Curiosity Sometimes Leads Them Right Into Danger
Most people have probably heard the popular idiom ‘the curiosity killed the cat’ at some point in their live ...
APR 14, 2020
Plants & Animals
APR 14, 2020
Why Are Bats So Resistant to Viruses?
Bats are some of the most infamous carriers of zoonotic viruses, which are viruses capable of spreading between both ani ...
APR 27, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
APR 27, 2020
Cold Foods Don't Taste as Good, Even to Flies
The deliciousness of a food appeal is about a lot more than just taste.
APR 28, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
APR 28, 2020
Carbon-Dating Ancient Pottery Just Got Easier
Carbon-dating Pottery Kitchenware Just Got Easier Pottery, especially vessels that our ancestors used to eat and drink w ...
MAY 24, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAY 24, 2020
Bees May 'Trick' Plants Into Flowering When Pollen is Scarce
It’s no secret that bumblebees depend heavily on pollen for their unique worker-centric lifestyles. In fact, whene ...
JUN 18, 2020
Cardiology
JUN 18, 2020
Healthy Eating Habits Lower the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
The results are in, eat your fruits and vegetables. A truth that society has known for some time, but data now confirms ...
Loading Comments...