Calcium metabolism in birds

Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract. 2008 Jan;11(1):59-82, vi. doi: 10.1016/j.cvex.2007.09.005.


Calcium is one of the most important plasma constituents in mammals and birds. It provides structural strength and support (bones and eggshell) and plays vital roles in many of the biochemical reactions in the body. The control of calcium metabolism in birds is highly efficient and closely regulated in a number of tissues, primarily parathyroid gland, intestine, kidney, and bone. The hormones with the greatest involvement in calcium regulation in birds are parathyroid hormone, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) (calcitriol), and estrogen, with calcitonin playing a minor and uncertain role. The special characteristics of calcium metabolism in birds, mainly associated with egg production, are discussed, along with common clinical disorders secondary to derangements in calcium homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Birds / metabolism*
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Calcium* / metabolism
  • Calcium* / physiology
  • Egg Shell / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Homeostasis / physiology*
  • Male
  • Parathyroid Hormone / metabolism
  • Parathyroid Hormone / physiology
  • Vitamin D / metabolism
  • Vitamin D / physiology


  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium