Do birds urinate?

Try to keep telling yourself it's lucky to be on the receiving end after you read this...

22nd July 2009
Do birds urinate? (iStock)

Asked by: Darren McIenny, Dornoch, Scotland

Mammals remove excess nitrogen from their bodies by converting it to a dilute solution of urea, stored in the bladder. Birds convert nitrogen to uric acid instead: this is metabolically more costly but saves water and weight, as it is less toxic and doesn't need to be diluted so much. Birds therefore don't have a urethra, and don't pee - all waste leaves via the anus.

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