The study of more than 1,700 North African Houbara bustards showed that the more times male birds performed the ritual, the more the quality of their sperm declined for what the scientists believe is an age-related reason.

‘Over the age of six years they began to produce much smaller ejaculates with immobile and frequently abnormal sperm,’ lead researcher Dr Brian Preston Preston told the BBC.

‘But the key finding was that males that had invested most effort displaying to females in their earlier years experienced the onset of this age-related decline in fertility at a younger age.

‘They effectively seem to “burn themselves out” sooner.’