Like Humans Birds too Masturbate

Like humans birds too show many different behaviors that are associated with sexual maturity and hormonal fluctuations. During breeding season, which is fixed in most birds depending upon the local climatic conditions, they behave instinctively in distinct ways under the powerful influence of sex hormones. How a bird would react sexually depends on various factors that include seasonal changes in daylight hours, diet, interaction with owners or favourite toys and objects (in case of pets), environmental influences. Such behaviours, sometimes very strange, are not necessarily associated with every bird

Masturbation is one such act which is usually associated with humans, but it is not exclusive to them. A few bird species have been reported to masturbate in the wild. They include budgerigar, cockatiels, spectacled parrotlets, a northern lapwing, and American Avocet. To masturbate, birds resort to rubbing their cloaca or vent (underneath the tail) on their favourite objects. In the case of pet birds object can be the hand, arm or shoulder of its owner.

About 97 per cent of all bird species on this earth have sex using their cloacas – these are single orifices that are used to defecate, urinate, and transfer sperm (in males) and accept sperm and lay eggs (in females). Cloacas don’t seem to have the nerve clusters seen in mammalian penises and clitorises, so most people think birds don’t have an equivalent of the mammalian orgasm when they have sex. If this is true, then several of the theories about why animals masturbate may not apply to birds.

The act of masturbation is most observed in pet birds. Experts feel pets or hand reared birds, in contrast to their wild cousins, lack avian role models causing their behavior and actions to be ruled more by hormonal impulses than learned flock behavior (nature versus nurture). In the wild their avian role models train them on appropriate behavior for their species, which is not possible with a bird reared by humans. While the hand reared birds initially view its owner as a parent figure, but once it hits puberty, it begins to see the owner as a mate.

The hours of daylight play very important role in the sexual life of birds that reproduce seasonally. The lighting cycle in our homes differs to a large extent from the annual changes in length and exposure to sunlight that occurs in the wild. In addition to daylight, pet birds also enjoy a manmade environment complete with light fixtures in the evenings. Thus the birds’ day is artificially lengthened to mimic a summer breeding season. In summers, when hours of daylight increases, light along with other factors stimulate the avian brain into producing luteinizing hormones, which triggers reproductive behavior.

Usually owners love their pets and in the process feed them with good food, which usually has high protein and fat contents. On one hand these birds get better food compared to the wild ones and on the other they do not perform the exercises their wild cousins do (flying, hopping, running and fighting etc.). In other words, owners unintentionally create ideal reproductive conditions for their companion birds. Consequently, in the long run, chronic hypersexual stimulations cause detrimental health problems along with undesired behaviors. To minimize chronic hypersexual stimulation it is advised, while handling the bird; do not stimulate the back or rear of a bird as this touch implies courtship. In the wild, these areas of body are only stimulated by a mate seeking to begin reproduction.

Birds that live in a pair do not masturbate. So giving the bird a partner will not make it less of a pet, just less frustrated and less likely to have extreme vocalizations, pluck feathers, or bite.

Do females masturbate as much as males?

Fascinatingly, masturbation has been observed in females too belonging to quite a lot of species. One of the ideas for why masturbation happens is that males need to get rid of old sperms that’s been sitting around for a while and generally clean out their tubes. But that can’t explain why females would masturbate.

Why masturbation?

Despite being so widespread, it is not really known why masturbation happens in most animal species from tortoises to horses, squirrels and dolphins, as well as in humans, chimps and bonobos and birds. It has been observed in both sexes of various species, but not all animals indulge in it. There are number of theories—it might be simply for enjoyment (in evolutionary terms, possibly a byproduct of animals having evolved to enjoy sex). It could be a way of reducing stress. It could be a maladaptive behaviour mainly seen in damaged animals (which might explain why it is often seen in captive animals). Others have suggested that it is a way for male animals to get rid of old, poor quality sperm, enabling them to use their best sperm the next time they have sex. Another theory says it helps prevent infections by flushing out the reproductive tract. Or it could be pair bonding behaviour. There are lots of other ideas as well, and at the moment, there has been little systematic examination of this behavior. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


3 × = eighteen

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>