Do male birds have a penis?

In our group of friends, opinions are divided about the answer to the question whether birds have a ‘penis’. We all know that both the male and female bird have a cloaca (after all, we are a group of biologists by training). One half of the group claims that in birds the community is nothing more than bringing both cloacas together and that with some rubbing and pressure the necessary transfer takes place. The other half claims that there must be ‘something’ that brings the necessary sperm cells into the female (a ‘penis’ or at least the cloaca of the male that protrudes a bit in the female and can be regarded as such like a ‘penis’).

We can’t figure it out after all these years. Maybe we can end the discussion this way?

Asker: Bart, 29 years old


Dear Bart,

Most birds do not have a penis and sperm transfer is indeed done by pressing the cloacas together. The sperm is actively absorbed by the female bird. Birds that do have a penis are mainly ducks, geese and swans, but turkeys and ostriches also have one.



Answered by

Vet Kristof Baert

Wildlife Management and Invasive Species Rodent control: brown rat, muskrat and coypu Wildlife diseases

Institute for Nature and Forest Research
Rue des Clinic 25 1070 Brussels


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