how birds get pregnant video

Extreme Example: Emperor Penguins

Extreme conditions call for extreme measures. As a result, the Emperor Penguins, who live in some of the coldest climates on Earth, have an unusual style of raising their young.

Emperor penguins overcome this physical hardship with a single physical adaptation and a strict, spartan division of parental responsibilities. In a cold environment, resources are scarce for nest building, and the eggs must be kept more than 70 degrees Celsius warmer than the surrounding temperature!

The female gives her lone egg to her mate to care for throughout the winter while she goes open-water fishing.

The dedicated penguin dad will then use his feet and his egg pouch or brood patch – a special stretchy skin fold rich in blood vessels just below the belly. He will incubate the egg for up to 75 days at 38 degrees Celsius, battling the bitter cold of -35 degrees C and fasting for nearly four months during the entire process.

When the well-fed female returns in July for the spring, she feeds the chick the fish that she has regurgitated. At last, it is the male’s turn to go for food. Emperor Penguin fathers find it difficult to part with their beloved offspring due to a strong bonding instinct, even though the females must “persuade” a male to give the chick to her for care and warmth despite the fact that they are starving!

Male Bird Reproductive Anatomy

The act of mating is shorter than you’d expect. Most birds are not equipped with a penis or any other copulatory organ that would allow the sperm to enter the female cloaca directly. Instead, most birds mate through a technique called “cloacal kiss. ”.

In this short maneuver, the male mounts the female. Subsequently, the male birds are able to transfer his sperm by rubbing their enlarged cloacal openings together. Because the female must tilt at precisely the correct angle for the sperm transfer to be successful, the cloacal kiss gives her excellent control over the situation.

Only around 3% of bird species have males with penises. These include waterfowl – ducks, geese, and swans, and large, primitive flightless birds such as ostriches, emus, and rheas.

Ducks are an unusual example of bird reproductive anatomy. Additionally, in certain species, the male penises can grow to be as long as the male’s body and have a corkscrew shape.

how birds get pregnant video

how birds get pregnant video

Anatomically speaking, the female duck’s “vagina,” or modified oviduct, is a long, winding structure that reflects these difficulties.

Natural selection argues that, given all the drama, the attempt to determine which males will father the ducklings is an evolutionary one, as female ducks appear to have a mechanism of favoring and selecting specific sperm once it enters their system. Furthermore, it is not unusual for the ducklings in a single brood to have fathers who are different from one another.

The breeding process is significantly faster and less messy in the majority of other bird species.

Female Bird Reproductive Anatomy

Female birds have a two-part reproductive system. It is made up of the oviduct, where fertilization takes place, and the ovary, which is where the eggs develop.

Remarkably, the right pair of ovary and oviduct is stunted during embryonic development, while only the left pair is fully formed and functional. On the other hand, there have been instances where the right pair of ovary-oviducts develops to the point where it can replace the damaged and non-functioning left pair.

The oviduct has several sections, two of which serve to adorn the egg with a shell. The oviduct ends in the cloacal opening – that’s where the eggs come out during the laying process.

how birds get pregnant video

how birds get pregnant video