Asked by: Jane Hollis, Nottingham

Yes. Very old birds produce fewer offspring and die more readily.

But some (like chickens) age quickly, while others (like seabirds) show amazingly slow declines. Despite higher metabolic rates and body temperatures, birds generally age much slower than an equivalent-sized mammal, and often live more than twice as long. It’s thought flight helps avoid predators, increasing survival and making it beneficial to evolve ways to slow the ageing process.

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