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Do birds urinate? © iStock

Do birds urinate?

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

Asked by: Darren McIenny, Dornoch, Scotland

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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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Authors

luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

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