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When Starlings Cheat

Keith Smith

  When Hank Williams wrote Your Cheatin' Heart, birds probably weren't on his mind. But researchers have found evidence of what we might call "infidelity" in birds. Scientists in east Africa learned that female Superb Starlings often seem to have "cheatin'" on their minds. Superb Starlings live in cooperative social groups, where subordinate, non-paired males help raise the chicks of established pairs. Females will "cheat" - or mate with subordinate males - when the females need help raising chicks, thus increasing the survival rates of those chicks. Learn more about this behavior in starlings.