Arabian babblers are one of the few known species to regularly conceal sexual activity. Researchers think the reason is to maintain cooperation within the group.

Despite their name, Arabian babblers never kiss and tell.

In an act often thought unique to humans, these birds go out of their way to hide from other birds during their (admittedly brief) sexual encounters, according to new research.

“The dominant male and female take so much effort to conceal their communication and the mating itself,” says Yitzchak Ben-Mocha, a graduate student at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology and the lead author of a study published recently in Evolution and Human Behavior. “They sneak away, copulate, and come back.”

While many species of animals occasionally conceal their sexual antics, such acts usually involve subordinate or “beta” males, who have good reason to hide their trysts from more dominant and aggressive

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