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Life Cycle of a Bird

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Describe the Life Cycle of Birds

Birds are flying, warm-blooded vertebrates that have in excess of 10,400 species that fall under the class Aves. They have two eyes, a four-chambered heart like human beings and forelimbs adjusted into the padded wings. Birds utilize their forelimbs for flying and rear appendages for resting or roosting. Birds lay hard-shelled eggs that need warm conditions for hatching. Indeed, even with such countless species, there are approximately 1000 species of birds that are extinct and obtained from fossils. With such a huge variety of species, all birds produce a single-celled egg, brood, hatch and later join the adult birds gathering. A few birds even relocate during their life cycle. In this article, you will learn about the life cycle of a bird and the stages in detail. Let us first learn to describe the life cycle of birds.

Bird Life Cycle Stages

  • Stage 1 - The Egg

All birds start their lives inside an egg; for the most part, which is a white, yellow, hard-shell covering the outside of the developing bird's undeveloped embryo. The number of eggs laid and the size of eggs differ starting with one species then onto the next. A few birds lay one egg while different birds lay more than one egg. A bird called Gray Partridge is known to lay around 20 eggs. The eggs are brooded by one of the parent birds, for the incipient embryo to form into a chick. A hard and bony structure frames on the baby bird's beak, which is known as the egg tooth. So as to hatch, the baby bird utilizes the egg tooth to break the eggshell. 

  • Stage 2 - The Hatching

After the bird has come out of the egg, the newly hatched bird is known as a hatchling. A hatchling is covered in the soft features and can't fly in this stage. Because of its vulnerable nature, a hatchling becomes prey to numerous huge predators. They need extraordinary parental management to grow and develop in this stage. At the point when a hatchling is developing and taken care of by its parents inside the nest, it is called to be nestling. 

  • Stage 3 - The Nestling

In this stage, the bird attempts to fly and shows certain flight qualities. At the point when a nestling builds up its flight capacities and is set up to take its first flight, the bird is known as a fledgeling. 

  • Stage 4 – The Fledgeling

A fledgeling has completely developed plumes and solid muscle wings. Despite the fact that they have every one of these highlights, fledgelings are still under the consideration of their folks at some point. In this stage, the bird flies out of the nest yet not at significant distances. The timespan of this stage in birds changes starting with one stage then onto the next. 

  • Stage 5 - The Juvenile

Juvenile birds leave the nest and are free to fly. In this stage, the juvenile bird experiences its first plumage and looks more like an adult bird. A plumage is the layer of quills that covers the exoskeleton of a bird. The juvenile birds are unequipped for reproducing in this stage. The plumage in this stage is soft and gets supplanted after periods of shedding. 

  • Stage 6 – The Sub Adult

In this stage, the young birds are yet not completely grown as they don't have adult plumage. In this stage, the young birds are not explicitly mature too. Again this changes, depending upon the sort of species of birds. Some bird species explicitly mature in this stage, while some don't. 

  • Stage 7 – The Adult

The adult bird has conclusive plumage and is explicitly mature. In this stage, the bird can mate and perform rearing.


From the musical hummingbird to flamingoes, birds are the most lovely and charming species on the planet. They live in each nook and corner of the world as they get by in any brutal conditions. From solidified scenes of Antarctica to sticky timberlands of South America, birds exist in all of the places of the world. To learn more about birds and their life cycles, extinction, etc., don’t look any further. Vedantu is the best platform to enhance your knowledge and understand concepts easily. 

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FAQs on Life Cycle of a Bird

1. Describe the life cycle of birds.

The following describes the six distinct stages in the life cycle of a bird: 

  1. All birds start life inside an egg. A unique hard structure called the egg tooth shapes on the baby bird's beak to assist it with breaking the eggshell. This exceptional tooth drops off a couple of days after a few days.

  2. A baby bird that has quite recently hatched is known as a hatchling. While the hatchling is developing in the nest and being taken care of by its parents, we consider it a nestling. 

  3. At the point when a nestling develops its flight plumes and is prepared to leave the nest, it takes its first flight or fledges. 

  4. We consider a bird that has recently fledged a fledgeling. A fledgeling has soft down plumes and is often taken care of by its parents for half a month more. Its flight quills proceed to develop and its wing muscles get more grounded. 

  5. At the point when a fledgeling or juvenile has completed the process of developing, it turns into a mature or adult bird. 

  6. An adult bird pulls in a mate, builds a nest and raises young to begin the cycle all once more.

2. How long do the birds live?

A bird’s longevity can be described as being variable as the function of both the species and the size. However, it is noted that several bird species, when given proper care, will often live longer in captivity than in the wild.


You can note that certain bird species, for example, some of the parrots called macaws as well as the others known as cockatoos may live for 30 to 40 years in the wild and more than 80 years in captivity. By contrast, several songbird species can survive in the wild for only one or two years but they may live up to 16 years, for example, canaries in captivity.


Considering the size, a general principle of the birds is that the larger the bird, the longer it can be expected to live (of course, there are exceptions to this principle). Hence, to pick two size extremes, ostriches generally have a longer lifespan than the hummingbirds, with ostriches capable of living for more than 50 years and hummingbirds capable of living for more than 11 years.

3. Elaborate on the features of a bird.

Features includes:

  • Birds are vertebrates, containing light skeleton structure. 

  • One of the most important characteristic features of a bird is feathers and wings.

  • The mouth of all birds is formed by a bony, keratin-covered protrusion called Bill. Many birds use their bills for transporting, drumming, drilling, preening, and other functions, and many have adapted their bill for certain food kinds. 

  • Birds are warm-Blooded creatures and have their own internal body heat.

  • Birds have a fast, efficient high metabolism that converts food into energy quickly.

  • All birds have two legs, which they utilize to perch, walk, hop, or run. To meet their demands, different varieties of birds have developed diverse leg forms and lengths.

  • Birds lay eggs that have a hard shell and require incubation to continue development until hatching. 

4. What is the difference between the adult life and early life of a bird?

The early stage of a bird begins inside a hard shell. As soon as the bird’s egg is hatched, the early stage is spent with the mother bird taking care of the babies. The hatchling is heavily dependent on the mother for food, warmth and protection. When the bird is old enough, the mother bird teaches the hatching to fly, starting the transition from early life to a sub-adult life. The sub adult life and adult life differentiated by the ability of the bird to fully plumage and mate.

5. Summarize the various stages of a bird's life.

A bird goes through 7 stages of life:

  • The first stage is when the bird is still in the egg. Early life of a bird is spent inside a hard shelled egg. 

  • The second stage is when the bird comes out of the egg and is called a hatchling. This is a delicate and dangerous stage in the life of the bird as they’re vulnerable and can fall prey to numerous predators. During this stage the mother bird is highly protective of its children. The hatchlings are completely dependent on their mother for food and warmth.

  • The third stage is called the nestling stage. During this stage there are signs of feathers and eye opening, but the hatching continues to rely on the mother for food and warmth.

  • The fourth stage is called the fledgling stage. Fledglings are chicks that have acquired flying feathers and wing muscles. They will have begun to venture outside the nest, but they will remain under the supervision of their parents. Fledglings are clumsy and can only fly for short distances, but they are lively and can hop around.

  • The fifth stage is called the Juvenile stage. A juvenile bird is at the awkward adolescent period of life. The young birds will have left the nest and will be completely self-sufficient.

  • The sixth stage is called the Subadult stage. Subadult birds are older than juveniles, but they have not yet grown adult plumage or reached sexual maturity.

  • The seventh stage is called the adult stage. Adult birds have reached sexual maturity and are capable of reproducing. They'll be dressed in their full adult plumage, which may vary depending on the season. The adult stage marks the end of the life cycle of birds.