Do Birds Pee? (Everything You Need To Know)

October 28, 2021 // 8 minute read

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Have you experienced getting hit by a bird poop? Or have you had bird poop on your car or your belongings? It could also be that you’ve just seen a bird pooping somewhere. 

Whatever you had experience regarding birds pooping, there’s no denying that this is a behavior seen in birds. But have you seen birds pee? Or perhaps wondered if birds pee? 

Well, technically speaking, birds don’t pee. They don’t have a bladder where they keep urine as their bodies are designed differently from ours. But if we’re going to get a closer look, birds store their wastes in one place and excrete them through one part of their body. So, if you’ve seen a bird pooping, there’s a good chance that it’s also peeing. 

In this article, we will answer the question, “Do birds pee?” a little bit further. We’ll also discuss: 

  • The cloaca
  • How birds urinate
  • The bird digestive system
  • If bird pee and poop toxic to humans
  • What birds poop while flying

So, if you’re interested to know more about these topics, let’s dive into whether birds urinate… 

Do birds pee? 

The answer to this question is never an easy yes or no. 

Technically, birds don’t pee. Well, not like we do. Instead, they excrete urine in the form of solid uric acid along with their poop. This is why we say that if you’ve seen a bird poop, chances are, it’s peeing, too. 

Because of this, birds wouldn’t actually need a bladder, which can just make their tiny bodies heavier. 

The Cloaca

The digestive system and urogenital system of birds come together in the cloaca, also considered a tubular cavity. This is the last point where birds’ poop or pee gather before the vent, or what we can call the anus. 

So, when we say that birds and poop come out of the same area, it’s because they always pass through the cloaca and out through the vent. It’s also the same part where birds lay eggs from or how birds mate. 

How do birds urinate? 

Now, let’s take a look at how birds urinate. 

Bird kidneys make up almost 2% of the birds’ total body weight, which is larger for their body size compared to mammals. Just like with humans, bird kidneys also help eliminate wastes or urine. They also help regulate salts and liquids, allowing birds to empty out so that it will not affect their flight. 

But, we thought birds don’t pee? 

Well, as I mentioned earlier, there’s really not an easy yes or no answer. 

Urine in birds is mainly composed of water and nitrogenous wastes, or what we consider uric acid. This urine transfers directly from the kidneys to the cloaca, and instead of disposing of all of that, the cloaca absorbs most of the water out of the urine and back to the body. 

This way, very little water goes to waste. In fact, 98% of water filtered by the kidneys is always reabsorbed. And when the birds empty themselves, what goes out is just mostly nitrogenous waste. 

So, when you think about it, birds’ urine is not liquid like most mammals have. Instead, it is quite pasty and whitish in color. And I think we know one thing that comes out of birds that is white… 

That’s right! Bird poop! So if you ever wonder why birds have white poop, it’s probably because they’re not all poop, but pee! 

The Bird Digestive System

Now that we know how birds pee (or poop), let’s look further into the birds’ digestive system and answer one big question: Why do birds pee and poop so much? 

The bird’s digestive system mainly consists of their: 

  • Mouth
  • Stomach
  • Gizzard
  • Small intestine
  • Rectum (their large intestine)
  • Cloaca

So, the food goes into the birds’ mouth, which proceeds to the stomach and gizzard. Then the food partially digested will continue to the small intestine then into the rectum. This is a lot shorter than the small system, and after the food passes through here, it goes to the cloaca. 

This whole process is fast, as birds have a very high metabolism. As their body temperatures are 102 to 112 degrees Fahrenheit, they need to eat a lot to keep their bodies at that temperature range. 

The food is usually completely digested within 2.5 to 12 hours, definitely faster than other animals. And considering that birds need to eat constantly and with food amounting up to ½ of their weight, this metabolism rate makes sense. 

So, yes, birds pee and poop a lot of times in a day, usually because as much as they need to replenish their energy continuously, they also need to make sure that they’re not too heavy. 

Are bird pee and poop toxic to humans?

bird poop on a car
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And because birds tend to poop or pee around us, it’s also necessary to know if bird pee or poop is toxic to humans. 

Bird droppings can be a source of infection. It’s a breeding ground for most disease-causing parasites that can cause us to get sick. 

So, it’s dangerous to inhale closely into dried bird droppings, so if there are a lot around you, make sure to clean them. And if a bird pooped on you (unfortunately), make sure to wash it immediately with soap.

If you accidentally hold bird poop, just wash your hands again thoroughly and disinfect. 

As long as bird poop isn’t ingested or you didn’t inhale any virus droplets from the poop, you’d be fine. 

What kind of birds pee and poop while flying? 

Well, probably all flying birds can pee and poop while flying. 

For birds, excreting wastes is an involuntary action. When the body feels that it needs to release something heavy, it will, no matter where they are. This is because a heavy body can restrict the bird’s movement in the air. I am sure you have seen this action while bird watching.

The same reason goes for when birds usually poop before leaving their perching area. They want to make sure that they aren’t too heavy to restrict their flight movement. 

FAQs

Do birds have bladders?

Humans and other mammals store urine in the urinary bladder. But aside from ostriches, birds don’t have bladders. 

Instead, the bird urine (mix of water and nitrogenous waste) is transferred directly from the kidneys to the cloaca. From there, the cloaca will absorb the water out of the urine and bring it back to the body, filtering out almost 98% of water. 

Do birds pee and poo from the same hole?

Yes, they do. 

Birds have a tubular cavity called the cloaca, where all the activities go through before going out through the vent. 

If you ask where the birds pee come from, the answer would be cloaca. And if you ask where the bird poop comes from, the answer would still be cloaca. 

It’s also the same area where the egg goes out and the same place for birds to mate. 

Why is bird poop white?

Bird poop is white because it’s not purely poop. It’s usually a mix of the urine of the bird. 

As mentioned above, bird urine is a mix of water and nitrogenous waste. The cloaca absorbs 98% of the water out of the mixture and absorbs it back to the body, leaving the urine with a pasty texture that is chalky-white. 

That’s what goes out of the bird – not poop. 

Do birds pee while flying?

Birds pee whenever they feel like they need to excrete excess weight. So, this could be while flying, before flying, or even while perching. 

Do birds have kidneys?

Yes, they do. 

Bird kidneys make up 2% of their body weight, which is larger than most mammals. This part is what regulates salts and liquids in the bird’s body and eliminates wastes. 

Do birds have a urethra? 

No, they don’t. Again, birds don’t have a bladder, so having a urethra won’t make sense. 

What is a bird’s poop hole called?

The tubular cavity where pee and poop go through is what we call the cloaca. However, the opening to the outside, or what we consider the anus, is called a vent. 

Final Thoughts On Do Birds Pee

And that’s everything you need to know about how birds pee!

This is actually a weird question, but it’s something that a lot of people wonder about. And finally, we have the answer!

If we based it on our standards of peeing, birds don’t pee. But if we take a look at the whole process of how they excrete waste, birds do pee. But it doesn’t look as wet as we thought it would be because 98% of the water is absorbed back into the body. What is left is a chalky-white substance that we think of as poop. 

Birds don’t also have a lot of body parts as we do because their body is focused on making them as light as possible so that flying won’t be harder for them.

bird on a statue with pee & poop
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