Why do birds preen themselves?

Do you know why birds preen themselves?

I’ve always wondered why birds preen themselves, so I researched about it and thought about sharing this interesting information over here!

Birds preen themselves to keep their feathers clean and in best condition. Most birds preen themselves many times a day to remove dirt and parasites from their feathers and to keep the feathers in shape. They use the preen gland, found at the base of the tail which contains an oily substance that helps to keep the feathers flexible and waterproof. While preening, the bird spreads the oil onto each feather.

Kingfisher preening itself

Preening is essential because of the following:

  1.  It removes parasites and dirt that may carry disease and destroy feathers
  2.  It creates a clean, healthy appearance to attract a mate
  3. It is a ‘courtship ritual’ between mates
  4. It aligns the feathers for optimum waterproofing, insulation and efficient flight

Here is a  video of an olive backed sunbird preening itself that was taken in my rooftop garden!

Though preening is beneficial for a bird’s health, it may be harmful when they are affected by human activity such as oil pollution. If the birds are oiled, they will preen themselves in order to get rid of the oil and while doing so will ingest the toxic chemicals from the oil. Also, they may get caught in fishing lines and may get wrapped around the bird while preening. This may prevent the bird from eating and can cause serious injuries. Thus, we must be conscious of our actions so that we can prevent the birds from being in such situations.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Thanks for reading!

Lavanya Prakash





2 thoughts on “Why do birds preen themselves?

  1. Gr8 Lavanya.Tk u for the text on Preening..
    Brilliant video.
    Appreciate your interest & relevant text materail onthe same..gud keep it up dear.lv

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