It’s a fact, most birds are faithful to their companion practically all their lives. This is why they are the first monogamists of the animal species. With 90% of birds having only one partner, humanity could take a few lessons. Explanations.
Loyalty in birds: a serious matter
Among the billions of birds that populate our planet, only a handful flit from one partner to another. Indeed, birds are the most faithful living beings in the world. For example, when male penguins have found the one of their hearts, they offer them a small stone as a “wedding ring”, to seal their union. The same goes for swans who only fall in love once in their entire life. If one partner dies, the other will sink into mortal grief.
But choosing your future half is very complex and can take a lot of time. That said, since the couple is destined to spend their lives together, it is important not to make a mistake!
Why are birds loyal?
Birds lay eggs. And these eggs need to be incubated for the babies to be born. Alone, a mother would expose her offspring to multiple dangers when going to feed, in addition to not being able to keep them warm. When the eggs hatch, the mother cannot leave the nest unsecured while she goes looking for food. In other words, the birds quickly learned that it took two to care for their young.
It is therefore for the survival of their species that the birds have decided to swear loyalty to each other and to apply themselves to the heavy task of raising children together.
When daddy bird leaves the nest
In some birds, loyalty does not last for life. Indeed, if the male takes his role as father very seriously, once the young have left their nest or are old enough to fend for themselves, generally after a year or a season, he will set sail towards new Horizons.
Separations among birds are often the result of too long a time spent apart from each other. But be careful, males who turn their backs on their partner will be less attractive to females in subsequent seasons, because they are considered less reliable!
This is true for many birds, but some, on the other hand, remain faithful to the same partner all their lives. This is the case for penguins, swans, albatrosses, geese, but also storks.
The question of sexual and social monogamy in birds
It is clear that infidelity also exists among birds. In fact, males, like females, can go see another companion. Moreover, certain birds sometimes assume the obligations of a conspecific near the nest, even though they are not the biological father of the eggs!
And in humans?
According to a study, one in two men and one in three women are tempted by infidelity. This is true whether the couple has children or not. 30% of French people have already cheated on their partner at least once.
Why is Man unfaithful?
Many parameters come into play to explain infidelity. The more the generations advance, the less parental responsibility remains a plausible argument. Indeed, even when having children, men, like women, can become closer to other partners.
Weariness and routine also sometimes push a person to have an extramarital affair. The man can often feel misunderstood, overwhelmed in his role as a father or can simply not find his place within his own family, preferring his life together of yesteryear.
Distance can also explain infidelity. Many couples are geographically separated for a more or less long period and for professional or personal reasons. This situation encourages the meeting of other potential partners.
Finally, even when being monogamous, Men have a strong need for seduction. Feeling beautiful or beautiful in the eyes of others is essential for many people. Hence the importance of “testing your seduction potential” with strangers, especially when an individual has been in a relationship for a while. He will need to reassure himself to know if he still pleases him as much, especially if the partner no longer has the same sparkle in his eyes.
Oxytocin: the loyalty hormone?
According to a recent study conducted on prairie voles, oxytocin is the hormone responsible for loyalty. This small mammal is one of the rare ones to be devoted to its partner all its life. His particuliarity ? It produces a hormone called oxytocin. Do we produce them too?
Scientists looked into the question by carrying out a study. A group of 40 stable heterosexual men was tested. Separated into two groups, the first received oxytocin by nasal spray and the second received a placebo. They were shown photos of women, including that of their partners. By visualizing them, subjects who had been subjected to oxytocin had certain regions of their brain that were activated (reward circuit) only when they saw their loved one. In the others, no phenomenon occurred.
In other words, specialists concluded that oxytocin was the hormone promoting fidelity and that the famous “reward circuit” was only activated by seeing photos of their partner. This means that the magic of fidelity works if the man shares a relationship with a woman and not just if there is physical attraction. Note that this study was never carried out with female subjects to find out if oxytocin was secreted in the same way.