A Guide to Breeding Birds and Bird Breeding Habits

Bird Breeding


Bird breeding generally begins as the daylight hours of summer increase. Territorial behavior becomes evident with males selecting and defending their territory by means of singing and flight displays. Territories vary in size depending on availability of food and requirements of birds breeding in the area. When a female enters a male’s territory she may be threatened by him as if she were another male. However, she will not fight back or fly away if she is ready to mate, and copulation will take place.

The first eggs are usually laid the day after the breeding pair completes the nest. Eggs may be laid daily or on alternate days, even up to five day intervals depending on the species. For the breeding of birds to be successful, the eggs must be incubated. The parents transmit heat to the eggs by means of brood spots (bare patches on underbelly with many blood vessels). Eggs are turned as often as 12 times an hour and incubation periods vary according to species. When they hatch, some chicks are completely dependent on their parents, these are called altritial. Others are able to run and feed themselves immediately, and these are called precocial.

Many people are interested in finding out about bird species breeding in their area. Studies are conducted and breeding bird atlases are produced which will provide this information. If for example you would like to find out about a British bird’s breeding habits, you would consult a breeding bird atlas for Britain.

The basic concepts discussed above also apply to breeding birds in captivity. For example, when breeding love birds it is important that they receive the correct amount of sunlight so as to stimulate breeding. Breeding love birds can be done in aviaries or individually in bird breeding cages. Bird breeding cages must have enough space for the birds to move around comfortably and continue with normal behaviour. Ensure that breeding pairs are fed properly so that they remain in good condition and that the eggs will not have defects. Once the young hatch, they too require suitable nutrition.

Breeding, whether in captivity or in the wild, is vital for the continuation of bird species and our continued pleasure in these beautiful feathered creatures.