Mating habits of rare bird under discussion


It is possibly the dream of many a man being well endowed, having a wide choice of mating partners, and never having to deal with the offspring that result from mating activities. This is the fate of Europe's rarest songbird, the aquatic warbler.

Numbers of this rare bird have declined by 95 percent in the last century, despite the fact that researchers say the male birds are "continuously ready to mate and testing every female for her willingness to copulate".

The males do not help the females with nest building, egg incubation, or feeding of the chicks. BirdLife International reports that the promiscuous bird spends an average of almost 34 minutes copulating, compared to the couple of seconds that most other birds indulge in.

Since 1998 the BirdLife International aquatic warbler conservation team has found ways of stabilising the bird's remaining breeding populations. International efforts have joined different countries and conservation organisations together to save the less than 20,000 breeding pairs and their wetland habitats.

Scientists met in Spain over August 18-20 to discuss the species' breeding biology, as well as to plan future conservation efforts.



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