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Duck me!

The peacocks have the brightness and vivid quality of their fan-like tails, songbirds have the frequency and vibrations of their call and the rooster has his bright crest. Birds, it seems, are all about the obvious signs of attraction when it comes to getting a female mate in the sack. Now, due to evidence uncovered by University of Oslo, and published in a journal of the Royal Society Biology Letters, we know that duck bill colours are also deal-breakers.

Dr. Melissah Rowe and her team analysed the sperm possessed by ducks who had brighter coloured bills than their fellow feathered brethren and found that their sperm contained antibacterial qualities that could protect against nasties such as E-Coli, BBC Online reveals.

'Researchers found that mallards with more colourful bills containing more yellow pigments had superior bacteria-fighting semen.'

'It was already understood that females select their mates based on the colour of their bills. But the new evidence shows how a brighter, more colourful bill communicates specific and important information about a potential partner's sexual health.'

Now, if only human males could work out what signs give away the fact that we don't carry any STDs. Maybe a condom ring engrained in the leather of our wallets and a loyalty card to Spearmint Rhino might not be the best alternative signs for mankind.

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