Bird parents argue over parenting duties, especially when one bird is not pulling its weight, according to a study on zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata).
Birds of this species form lifelong mating pairs and it has been observed that they share parenting and baby bird duties, including foraging for food, building nests and watching over the eggs.
But researchers wanted to test if the birds actually shared any communication over their duties. To test this, they held up male birds on their way back to the nest to disrupt the couple’s very specific parenting schedule.
In videos captured by researchers, when the male bird returns on time, the pair communicate with each other in what is considered a normal vocal pattern. However, when researchers kept the bird for an extra 30 minutes, the vocal exchange is accelerated. Both the male and female alternate their calls much faster than normal.