Can Birds Burp? (SURPRISING Answer + Explanations!)


I remember looking at birds out my window and being extremely curious about this ONE random question: “can birds burp?” We, humans, do it all the time to release our inner gases, but do birds really do it? And if not, how do they release their internal gases? So I did my own extensive research on this topic and found a definitive answer:

Birds can burp but it is not well documented by scientists. Birds hardly burp because they simply do not have the same gas-producing microbe in their digestive system as humans and mammals, so less gas gets built up inside of them.

We all have times when we need to release gases, but birds somehow don’t need to do all that. Stick around as I use my biology research to share more information on the science birds’ digestive systems, farts, and more curious FAQs! Read on for more!

Can Birds Burp? (Continued FULL Answer!)

We all know that we need to relieve some of the internal gases in our guts once in a while (be it secretly or openly!) 😉

But, do birds actually do the same by burping? At the point of writing, scientists have not done enough research on whether birds burp or not, so there is not enough evidence to make a conclusion. But experts have commented that it is a possibility!

Okay, so you know that birds don’t really burp. Hmm, but that doesn’t really satisfy your curiosity right? I went on to do a little more digging in the deep trenches of science to find a concrete answer. Here’s why birds burp much less than humans:

Birds do not have the same bacteria composition in their guts as us, humans. Birds actually have less gas-producing gut bacteria, so there is less build-up of gases in their guts. Thus, there is less need for them to release gases from their gut, be it through burping or farting!

Here’s a diagram scientists made contrasting the composition of gut bacteria in humans and wild birds:

Upon close observation, you’ll see that humans, mammals, chickens, and wild birds all have very different kinds of bacteria present in their guts. You’ll notice that humans have very little diversity of bacteria types compared to other organisms!

Let’s focus on the group of bacteria type that takes up the largest proportion of the human guts: Bacteroidetes. Bacteroidetes, according to scientists, constitute different bacteria species like Bacteroides that account for gas production in the gut. [2]

Since we humans have a much higher proportion of gas-producing bacteria like Bacteroides compared to birds, it’s no wonder that we have the need to release our gases through burping or farting. Birds simply have less gas in their guts so they don’t need to burp!

Why Birds Have Different Gut Bacteria From Humans

There are a few reasons why birds have different gut bacteria from us. They are broken down into 2 main groups: Extrinsic (external) and Intrinsic (internal).

Here’s a summary table of the factors affecting avian gut microbiota:

Intrinsic FactorsExtrinsic Factors
DietEnvironment
Health & FitnessLocal Food Resources
Physiology: GI-tract morphologyBehavior: Migration & Social Interactions
Reproduction
Phylogenetic History
Source [1]

Okay, I do admit there are some exceptions to birds burping. Here’s a funny video of an African Grey Parrot imitating the burping and farting sounds its owner makes. HA HA!

Can Birds Expel Gas?

Birds can expel gas but there is little reason to do so. Birds have lower build-up of gases in their guts due to less gas-producing gut bacteria compared to humans. Scientists have not documented birds expelling gas, but believe they can do so.

Do Macaws Burp?

Macaws can burp but there is little reason to do so. Birds have lower build-up of gases in their guts due to less gas-producing gut bacteria compared to humans. Scientists have not documented birds burping, but believe they can do so. Macaws can instead learn to imitate the burping sounds of humans.

Do African Grey Parrots Burp?

African Grey Parrots can burp but there is little reason to do so. Birds have lower build-up of gases in their guts due to less gas-producing gut bacteria compared to humans. Scientists have not documented birds burping, but believe they can do so. They can instead learn to imitate the burping sounds of humans.

Do Birds Burp or Fart?

Birds can burp or fart but there is little reason to do so. Birds have lower build-up of gases in their guts due to less gas-producing gut bacteria compared to humans. Scientists have not documented birds expelling gas, but believe they can do so. However, some talking birds can imitate the sound of humans burping.

Here’s another video of a bird imitating farting:

Here’s another video of a bird imitating burping!

Do Budgies Fart?

Birds can fart but there is little reason to do so. Birds have lower build-up of gases in their guts due to less gas-producing gut bacteria compared to humans. Scientists have not documented birds expelling gas, but believe they can do so.

Do Birds Fart When They Poop?

Birds do not fart while they poop. Birds have much lesser gas-producing bacteria in their gut than humans so, so they do not need to relieve any gases through farting when they are pooping. As such, birds release both uric and poop at once without farting.

Do Birds Fart While Flying?

Birds do not fart while flying. Birds have much lesser gas-producing bacteria in their gut than humans so, so they do not need to relieve any gases through farting. However, birds can release both uric and poop at once while they are flying.

Can Birds Smell Fart?

Birds can smell farts, but due to their poor sense of smell, they are unlikely to be too affected by it. Most birds have nostrils known as nares around the base of the top mandible of their bills and olfactory lobes which they use to smell.

Can A Fart Kill A Bird?

Farts are not known to be able to kill birds. As most birds have a poor sense of smell, they are unlikely to be too affected by farts. Most birds have nostrils known as nares around the base of the top mandible of their bills and olfactory lobes which they use to smell.

Final Thoughts

Now you know all about birds burping and farting, you can now show off your new-found knowledge to your friends! Thanks for reading all the way and happy birding!!

References

  1. Grond, K., Sandercock, B.K., Jumpponen, A. and Zeglin, L.H. (2018), The avian gut microbiota: community, physiology and function in wild birds. J Avian Biol, 49: e01788. https://doi.org/10.1111/jav.01788
  2. Probert, H. and Gibson, G. (2002), Investigating the prebiotic and gas-generating effects of selected carbohydrates on the human colonic microflora. Letters in Applied Microbiology, 35: 473-480. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1472-765X.2002.01223.x

Justin

Justin is a hobbyist birder that hopes to share his birding knowledge with the world. His favorite bird is the Large-tailed Nightjar and he really loves potato chips!

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