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Cosmo and Nanu - Aliens

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Truly Madly Beaky

Kathryn Quinn

A new study on the secret sex lives of our feathered friends has shattered the myth that the love birds are loyal for life.

Scientists say new research on the paternity of eggs in the nests of the world's most popular birds shows that nearly three quarters of them are pretty flighty when it comes to cheating on their mates.

DNA checks show that 70 of females have at some time winged it with another male while their partners' backs were turned.

Expert Tomas Albrecht - from the Charles University in Prague Czech Republic - explained: "About 30 years ago we thought that most birds were monogamous."

"But with the development of molecular methods to determine the chicks' father, it has been shown that more than 70 per cent of birds are at some time disloyal," he added.

Research carried out on swallows in Bohemia show that in a typical next of five eggs, two were fathered after a lark with another partner.

And in the US, a cousin called the Salt Marsh Sparrow has been identified as the world's least faithful partner - with 97 per cent of females cheating on their long-term mates.

Even less exotic garden visitors like tits and blackbirds always have a beady eye open for something more than a peck on the cheek, says Albrecht.

"Like humans, they often have stable partnerships but that doesn't stop the urge for some genetic variety," he said.

Tag cloud cousin  swallows  cheek  Sparrow  feathered  variety  birds  tits  cheating  lark  least  females  visitors  eggs  mates  Salt  Marsh  checks  Albrecht  Bohemia

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