How long until bird eggs hatch?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer ‘how long until bird eggs hatch?’ Also, we will see the stages the egg goes through.

How long until bird eggs hatch?

After the eggs are laid, it takes up to 10 to 14 days for the eggs to hatch of smaller birds while it takes weeks to a month for the eggs to hatch of larger birds, depending on the species. 

Females or mothers spent most of the days in the nest to protect the eggs and provide them warmth while the males or fathers spent the day looking for food.

What is the incubation period?

Incubation is the time period in between when the egg was laid until it hatches. In this period, an egg needs consistent warmth and protection so that the eggs can hatch without being compromised.

Smaller birds particularly songbirds can take in between a week and a half or two weeks of the incubation period. The same period of time is needed by the bird to grow into fledgling. 

While larger birds take longer and the same amount of time it takes for incubation can be allocated for the baby bird to grow into fledgling.

What is the fledgling stage?

Fledgling stage refers to the stage of life in between hatching and being able to take flight. Only birds that are able to fly have a fledgling stage of their life.

This is the most vulnerable stage of birdlife. In this period the bird needs their parents to take care of them. Such animals are also referred to as altricial animals. Such an animal or bird is born without the ability to take care of itself.

They need a proper safe need and the care of the parent’s birds till they are able to take care of themselves.

Which bird has the shortest incubation time?

Zosterops, the white eye or silver eye, has gained worldwide fame for having the shortest period for bird eggs to hatch. It takes about 9 to 10 days for the eggs to hatch.

The white-eye is a common bird that is a shy, small bird but is a curious creature that is seen hopping in the undergrowth or flitting from branch to branch. White eyes are mainly from the Africa continent but can be found across the South Asian continent even in Asia and New Zealand.

Which bird has the longest incubation time?

The wandering albatross has the longest incubation period out of all birds, which can last up to 85 days. This is by far the longest period for bird eggs to hatch. However, this period is considered to be an interrupted incubation period.

The longest uninterrupted incubation period belongs to the emperor penguin. This period lasts from 67 to 75 days.

What does a bird egg consist of?

Bird egg consists of a protective eggshell, albumen or egg whites and vitellus or egg yolk. Depending on the make-up of the egg, some type of bird egg takes longer to hatch while the others don’t.

The eggshell is made almost entirely of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) crystals. Even though the eggshell seems hard to us, it is actually a semi-permeable membrane, meaning that the moisture can easily pass through its pores.

The albumen of egg white is mostly water and proteins (includes albumins, mucoproteins and globulins). Egg white has no fat or carbohydrates in them.

The vitellus or egg yolk is partly made up of keratin (a protein found in human hair). The yolk contains all the fats here. It is made up of a little water, some fat and most eggs, vitamins and minerals.

Do birds leave their eggs unattended?

Yes, they may, especially while waiting for the eggs to hatch. Besides this, they do leave their nest to feed themselves or to scare off potential threats. Sometimes they also leave so that they do not draw attention to their nest for long periods. 

But whatever the case is, they do return back to resume the incubation period, unless they were killed while out.

How do you know if the bird egg is alive?

If you happen to get your hands on some eggs which you suspect are near their hatching period, touch their eggs using the back of your hand. If the eggs feel warm then the eggs should be alive. If the shell is free of cracks or any default and is warm to touch it surely is alive.

You may take care of such eggs by first identifying by looking at the color and some characteristics of eggs and determining their favored environment through some research. Provide that environment and let them have a fair chance of survival.

If you want to learn how common bird eggs look, please refer here.


In this brief guide, we answered ‘how long until bird eggs hatch?’ Also, we went through the stages the egg goes through.

Hopefully, you found this guide informative and helpful. In case of any queries or questions, please do let us know.