How to determine the sex of your parrot

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How to determine the sex of your parrot

male or femaleThere are several techniques for determining the sex of a bird, but are they all reliable?

Unfortunately, there are several unreliable techniques often used by breeders to determine the sex of birds, including:

  • The pelvic gap which involves feeling the lower abdomen with your fingertip to measure the spacing between the pelvic bones.
  • The observation of the shape of the head and the size of the bird and so on …

Rest assured, other more reliable 100% techniques exist and above all simple to practice to affirm the sex of a bird that I explain below.

But before going any further I would like to tell you about another method reserved for people with experience in breeding and which consists of analyzing the behavior of the bird from the adulthood age (e.g. parade for males… and egg-laying / mating claim position for females…) to determine the sex of the observed bird.

3 100% reliable methods for determining the sex of the bird 

→ Sexual dimorphism

Some species exhibit sexual dimorphism, it is a physical difference visible to the naked eye (shape, size, color) between a male and a female of the same species. However, in parakeets and parrots which have this characteristic, it is necessary to wait until adulthood (in most cases) to be able to distinguish it. This can range from a few months to several years depending on the species.

Here are some examples :

  • In the budgerigar, the cere color, located just above the beak, is brownish-pink in the female and blue-purple in the male. It is necessary to wait until the bird is at least 6 months to 1 year old before being able to determine the sex with precision thanks to this technique.

Budgerigar male and female

  • As for the cockatiel, only the wild type is sexable to the naked eye. The male and the female are gray, the cheeks orange, except the color of the head, it is yellow in the male and gray in the female (see photo). Again, young people under 6 months old all have a gray head. For other mutations, I invite you to read this article which addresses the subject of cockatiel mutations in more detail

Pictures Couple cockatiel wild type

  • For other species such as the Eclectus, the difference is striking. In this species, the male has a green body and a beige bill while the female has a red and mauve body with a black bill, and this from the growth of the feathers. For a long time, experts believed that these were species that were completely independent of each other.

Eclectus parrot couple

→ Gender-related mutation

The sex-related traits in birds are passed from father to daughter. This is why, when a mutant of heredity linked to sex appears, it is always a female.

Example: Female green wild-type parakeet carrying blue and male parakeet with lutino mutation, will give sexable babies at the nest. Since lutino and cremino mutation babies will be females …

Rules :

  • Mutant male x wild female = 50% carrier males and 50% mutant females.
  • Mutant female x wild male  = 50% carrier males and 50% wild females
  • Carrier male x mutant female = 25% mutant males, 25% carrier males, 25% mutant females, and 25% wild females
  • Carrier male x wild female = 25% carrier males, 25% wild males, 25% mutant females, and 25% wild females

For more information, we welcome you with pleasure on our forum to answer all your questions.

→ DNA sexing

The most efficient way to determine the sex of a bird that does not have sexual dimorphism is through DNA sexing. A simple blood test or even a growing feather containing blood can be used. The sample is taken to a laboratory that performs this test and the result arrives a few days later. A certificate containing your information and that of your bird will also be given to you. This technique is painless and quick.

The cost of DNA sexing is affordable, the price varies from one laboratory to another, in France the test costs on average 15 €. There is a Spanish laboratory for DNA sexing and other tests (diseases…) at a very reasonable price of 4.5 €.

Here is a 6-step tutorial to perform your reliable and cheap DNA sexing

Click here (DNA sexing)

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