How long do birds incubate their eggs and how long do chicks stay in the nest?

A Mourning Dove incubates her eggs. Photo by Steven Bach via Birdshare.
A Mourning Dove incubates her eggs. Photo by Steven Bach via Birdshare.

The time for incubation varies widely from species to species.

Roughly speaking, small songbirds take between 10 days and 2 weeks to hatch and the same amount to fledge. Larger birds such as woodpeckers may take 3 weeks to a month to fledge. Many ducks, shorebirds and gamebirds leave the nest immediately after hatching.

You can get detailed information for any species you’re interested in by going to its page in our All About Birds species guide. Once you’ve found the species you’re interested in, click on “Life History” and then scroll down to “Nesting.”

All About Birds is a free resource

Available for everyone,
funded by donors like you

Need Bird ID Help? Try Merlin

Experience the Joy of Birdwatching online course for yourself, and we'll give you one free to send to a friend!

Just purchase the course for yourself, then look for an email from us with instructions to redeem your free gift course.