Warning, if you can’t tell by the title of the post, it’s going to get a little blue in this post.
Most of us have heard the song, “Birds Do It, Bees Do It” but have you every really thought about how a bird fits tab A into slot B? Let’s look at the equipment.
Most birds do not have a penis. Most birds have a little lump called a cloaca. During the breeding season when hormones are flowing the cloaca swells and birds can get a cloacal protuberance.
Above, a bird bander blows on a Tufted Titmouse belly and note the spot below the bare patch–that’s a cloaca. Both sexes have the cloaca, so for most birds sex literally is about bumping uglies. They do not have lengthy love making periods, but fast 1 to 3 second copulations that can happen hundreds of times a day. With birds, it’s generally not about quality, it’s about quantity.
However, for a few species, things gets…weird. For example, the Red-billed Buffalo Weaver has a pseudo-penis, not quite a cloaca, not quite a penis. He will rub this against the female’s genitalia for 10 to 20 seconds and this is supposed to increase the chances that his sperm will stay.
Cassowary photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen via Wikipedia. Beneath that comical exterior lies a super freak of Rick James proportions.
Cassowaries give the Buffalo Weaver a run for his money as both sexes have a penis and clitoris. But the freakiness doesn’t end there. Both male and female birds have a phallus but it’s not connected to reproductive tissue in either bird. When the male Cassowary inserts what looks like a penis into the female, the semen ejaculates from the cloaca from the base, not the tip.
All looks quiet and cute for this the Blue-winged Teal pair, but what kinky escapades could they be capable of?
But the bird that takes genitalia to a whole new level is the duck. Some people get upset when they see several males gang up on one female (or in some cases a young male) but underneath the feathers of both sexes is a sexual arms race of epic proportions that’s been waging for thousands of years. It may look like the males are harming the females but they have their own arsenal of weaponry that James Bond (the spy, not the ornithologist) would envy.
Male ducks have an actual penis, but it’s not an ordinary penis, it’s an explosive spiral penis and in some cases it’s spiny (not necessarily for her pleasure). By bird standards it’s huge and some species go the extra mile like the Argentinian Lake Duck with its over 16 inch long member (when stretched out, is a little longer than the duck itself).
Here’s a high definition, high speed video of a Muscovy penis popping out:
So, why would a male duck need such a crazy appendage that works at lightning speed to mate with a female? Hens can have a vagina that has multiple compartments and dead ends, kind of like a labyrinth only without Muppets and David Bowie. By closing off certain pockets, she can control where the ballistic spiral penis deposits the semen. Some studies even suggest that most of the forced copulation by males results in their deposits going no where. Like any healthy bird, she wants to make sure that she gets the best of the best when that appendage fertilizes her eggs.
Considering how it is so different from the cloacas other birds use to make eggs, researchers have been fascinated and wanted to know more. And if you have to have a graduate project, why not make it on explosive penises?
A fish may love a bird, but where would they live?
-Drew Barrymore in Ever After (Originally from Fiddler on the Roof)
Bird Love Week is seven days of exploration of avian amore here on 10,000 Birds from April 22-28. We love birds, and the topic of birds loving other birds and in the process making more birds is a fascinating one we know you will enjoy. Mike, Corey, and a bevy of Beat Writers have been working on this one for awhile as the perfect expression of our love of all things avian. To see all of our Bird Love Week posts, just click here. But be warned – Bird Love Week is neither for the faint of heart nor for the permanently prudish – you may end up with images that you never imagined seared onto your brain.
That video is the most disturbing thing I have seen in a very long time.
Informative and funny. Another instant classic from Birdchick!
In Panama, usually it is not good if someone calls “duck” to a guy… perhaps we need to reconsider that : )
Totally bizarre, and very informative, too, thanks!
I am still trying to figure out what I’m seeing here. Are they holding a male muscovy over a female? And why are they nearly bald? And how…oh, hang it. Great post, Birdchick!
I always wondered about birds. You have answered some of the questions with great humor. Thanks
A few years ago I was working on drawing for a bird book, and one of the drawings was of a mallard penis. The author of the book gathered the images that I used for reference. He told me that you never ever no not ever want to Google “duck penis” even in Safe Mode.
ummmmmmmmm i feel sick now it was very disturbing, looks like a catapillar under a microscope vomiting ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
absolutely brill, i thought my pet duck was deformed or ill, when his member flopped out!!!!!
Why thank you so much for this quite informative post. It is quite hard to find information like this.
Bahahahaha!!! That’s exactly what I said!
If you still care, from what I have come (no dirty pun intended) to understand from the video, they interrupted the male just as he was mounting the female, and pulled him aside just enough that he missed the female’s cloaca. They’re not mostly bald; the feathers on their stomachs are short and very smooth.
Sexist, sex-themed anthropomorphism is really irritating. Are you really that horny that talking about birds mating reminds you of human sex?
“So, why would a male duck need such a crazy appendage that works at lightning speed to mate with a female? Hens can have a vagina that has multiple compartments and dead ends, kind of like a labyrinth only without Muppets and David Bowie. By closing off certain pockets, she can control where the ballistic spiral penis deposits the semen. Some studies even suggest that most of the forced copulation by males results in their deposits going no where. Like any healthy bird, she wants to make sure that she gets the best of the best when that appendage fertilizes her eggs.”
SO WHY WOULD A DUCK NEED SUCH A CRAZY APPENDAGE… fade into femalecentric explanation of female duck genitalia that has nothing to do with why the duck needs “Such a crazy appendage!!!”.
Could you imagine if a guy wrote this with such gender bias? “Female duck’s will mate with anything, so they formed a vagina that means they can be promiscuous without consequences and then oopsie the best of the best! CRAZY HEY!”
That would be hilarious to right?
Did you really use the word “member”?
Not one use of pussy, gash, hole, cooch or tuna tunnel though. Why not?
I bet you’re a rabid feminist too. How do you like being played at your own game?
You are insane.
I didn’t realize that Ammon Bundy had internet access in jail.
I was mentioning the corkscrew duck penis on a bird walk yesterday, when one of the men wittily responded, “You mean all penises aren’t shaped that way?”
dam.that dont look like a dick. it looks like a snake looking for prey
User “Duckhunt” sounds like he was crying for “men’s rights!” even back in 2016. Get a grip, man. I bet now you are a woman hating incel that refuses to wear a mask and thinks the Qanon bull crap is true and Trump is our lord and savior.
This dude seriously got SO offended at the language used in an article about duck genitalia and fucking. It hurt his fragile little man ego for some reason, even though he is not a duck. Or is he…….. ?
Please find some real issues to stand up for, real injustices to protest. I think male ducks are going to be okay despite an “evil feminist” talking about their dicks in a realistic, not flattering way. Someone sounds triggered……