This Video Proves That Penguin Sex Can Get Kind of Messy

Two penguins at the Monterey Bay Aquarium decided to make baby penguins in front of their viewing window. In the process, they showed off a fascinating aspect of bird reproductive biology.

Birds use internal fertilization–their shelled eggs make it a requirement, since ova have to get fertilized before the shell is laid down. But most birds don’t have a penis. Instead, they perform what’s called a “cloacal kiss”: the female opens up her cloaca, the male pushes his out, and they wipe them together as he ejaculates.

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Sometimes, as you’ll see, the process is a little messy.


Contact the author at diane@io9.com.

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