- Penguin couple stayed together for 16 years, smashing all previous records
- New research shows incredible loyalty in spite of the epic distances travelled by the birds
As the UK divorce rate continues to soar, a new study has today shown how marital harmony is thriving in the penguin world.
Research has revealed a pair of Magellanic penguins as among the most faithful in the animal kingdom.
The couple have remained loyal to each other over a 16-year period, in spite of spending thousands of miles apart during their winter trips.
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Faithful: New research shows how a pair of Magellanic penguins were loyal to each other for 16 years (file picture)
Previously penguin relationships were believed to span a maximum of just 10 years, with many cut short by the unexpected death of birds during migration.
'Divorce' is also a possibility as couples who fail to hatch chicks will split up and find new mates.
But according to The Sunday Telegraph, biologists have been surprised by the longevity of the relationship between a particular couple.
'The bond they have is incredible really,' lead researcher Dr Pablo Garcia Borboroglu, of the National Research Council of Argentina, told the newspaper.
'It is unbelievable how far Magellanic penguins swim – and each breeding season they come back to the same nest and to the same partner.'
Loyal: A pair of penguins can track each other down among hundreds of thousands of other birds using a distinctive call
Magellanic penguins can only be found around the Falkland Islands and South America.
Loving: A Magellanic penguin stays loyal to the same mate, in spite of long periods apart
But their numbers have dropped dramatically since the turn of the century due to oil pollution and falling fish numbers and there are thought to be around 1.2 million left in the world.
Dr Borboroglu's project also used satellite tracking to identify the movements of the birds, showing the enormous journeys they travel each winter to the warmer waters of Brazil.
After reuniting and mating, the female usually lay two eggs, which each partner takes turns guarding while the other goes out to sea.
After they hatch, the parents spend a month caring for their young before heading off to their wintering area.
The penguins join a roll call of other animals that undertake loyal relationships, including the albatross, French angelfish and black vultures.
Mates for life: In spite of long distance flights, albatrosses always return to breed with the same partners
Jealous: Like the Magellanic penguin, black vultures are strictly monogamous