What is the difference between birds’ eggs and reptile eggs?

Ornithologist Tim Birkhead answers your wild question.

Song thrush eggs in nest

Song thrush eggs in nest © clubfoto/iStock 


Birds lay hard-shelled eggs, but most reptiles lay soft-shelled ones.

Another difference is that birds’ eggs are incubated by body heat, while most reptile eggs are incubated by natural heat in crevices or vegetation, and do not have to bear the weight of an incubating adult.

The fact that they are hidden from sight also means that reptile eggs have no need for colour, and are all white.

Pythons hatching from eggs © rognar/iStock


In contrast most birds’ eggs are incubated in nests and are often highly conspicuous, so their colour serves as camouflage.

Another key difference is that reptile eggs are usually symmetrical, while birds’ eggs tend to have blunt and pointed ends.


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