When Choosing a Mate, Female Parrots Prefer Brains Over Beauty or Brawn

When it comes to affairs of the heart, there are a variety of factors at play: mutual attraction, shared interests, an intangible spark that eventually leads to love. But in Darwinian terms, the recipe for reproduction is far more clinical, with animals seeking mates based on the potential evolutionary advantage—often superior cognition skills—offered by a match.


Now, a new study published in the journal Science suggests that female budgerigars, a species of small Australian parrots better known as budgies, employ this selective brand of logic when playing the mating game. As Nick Carne writes for Cosmos, a team of Chinese and Dutch researchers found that female budgies preferred brains over beauty and brawn. The birds would even change their selection if the previously overlooked mate learned a new trick.


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