How Long Does It Take a Bird to Leave the Nest?

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Most songbirds are ready to leave the nest within two to three weeks of hatching, but some species of raptor remain in the nest for 8 to 10 weeks. Precocial birds are born fully feathered and mobile and are ready to leave the nest within a few hours of hatching.

Songbirds and most species of seabirds give birth to altricial young. They are helpless, featherless and blind, and entirely reliant on the parent birds for food and warmth. Ducks and many shorebirds are precocial at birth. It isn’t unusual to see baby ducks foraging alongside their mother only hours after hatching. Precocial birds have a longer incubation period than altricial birds, allowing for the development of superior motor and sensory function.