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Female Birds Communicate Their Needs to Males Much Like Humans Do

Science By
Zealandia robin Iti shares a mealworm with his mate Aroha. (Victoria University)
Zealandia robin Iti shares a mealworm with his mate Aroha. (Victoria University)


“Happy wife, happy life” was an old adage meant to describe successful human relationships, but scientists say the same idea extends to mating behavior among other species, too.

For example, scientists have found that female robins can communicate their immediate needs for a specific type of food, giving males the cues to meet those desires during reproduction. Research from New Zealand’s Victoria University of Wellington shows this communication ability is a key factor in the success of a robin pair and predicts whether or not the monogamous birds remain bonded or split up to find new mates.

Conducted by Dr. Rachael Shaw, the study, published in Scientific Reportsfocused on North Island robins, but other species could share similar behavior patterns, according to a press release on Phys.org.

“In many species, food sharing by the male is vital to help the female offset the energetic costs of reproduction, such as egg laying and incubation,” Dr. Shaw explained. “The male’s ability to give his mate what she wants could, in fact, be an important factor in determining the success of a pair, as well as influencing whether they stay together. These are really exciting avenues for future research.”