Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Gee, George
item Henk, Bertschinger
item Donoghue, Ann - Annie
item Blanco, Juan
item Soley, John

Submitted to: Poultry and Avian Biology Reviews
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2004
Publication Date: 8/1/2004
Citation: Gee, G.F., Henk, B., Donoghue, A.M., Blanco, J., Soley, J. 2004. Reproduction in nondomestic birds: Physiology, semen collection, artificial insemination and cryopreservation. Poultry and Avian Biology Reviews. 15(2):47-101.

Interpretive Summary: There has been progress in understanding the fascinating reproductive strategies of wild birds. Yet, there are more than 9000 bird species, and only a handful has been studied. Early studies have recognized a remarkable variation in reproductive mechanisms among species. These things considered, the magnitude of the challenge becomes apparent. Birds evolved to survive in many microenvironments around the world. These adaptations brought changes in reproductive strategies and physiological functions that ensure self-perpetuation. Without a comprehensive understanding of these specialties in natural reproduction we may miss valuable knowledge, important scholarly information and information useful in management and conservation. This review covers what we know regarding the reproductive physiology semen collection artificial insemination and cryopreservation in nondomestic avian species.

Technical Abstract: This is a review of what is known regarding reproduction in nondomestic birds, reviewing physiology and assisted reproductive techniques. Pioneering work by Quinn and Burrows in the late 1930s led to successful artificial insemination (AI) programs in the domestic poultry industry. A variety of species specific modifications to the Quinn and Burrows massage technique made AI possible in nondomestic birds. Massage semen collection and insemination techniques span the entire range of species from sparrows to ostriches. Also, cooperative semen collection and electroejaculation have found limited use in some nondomestic species. Artificial insemination produces good fertility, often exceeding fertility levels in naturally copulating populations. However, aviculturists should explore other ways to improve fertility before resorting to AI. Artificial insemination is labor intensive and may pose risks to nondomestic birds as well as handlers associated with capture and insemination. Semen collection and AI makes semen cryopreservation and germ plasma preservation possible. Yet, semen cryopreservation techniques need improvement before fertility with frozen-thawed semen will equal fertility from AI with fresh semen.

Last Modified: 06/24/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page