Bird Gender Identification: Is Your Bird a Girl or a Boy

Bird gender identification is not as easy as you may think it is, well for some species this could be relatively easy because several differences between the male and the female could be spotted on. However, there are many bird breeds in which male and female birds are similar and that only an expert can tell the differences.

bird gender identification cockatiel pair

Photo: Tieltime | Flickr

Species of Birds that Can Easily Identify the Gender

These birds are some of the species where the difference between the male and the female are seen visibly, whether through their appearance or through their behavior, and even through the sound they create. There is no need for testing or other methods to identify the gender unless necessary. You just need to compare the specie with their co-specie to know whether they are meant to be paired up or if they are both from the same sex.

  • Canaries

Both genders, male or female can sing but if you place a single bird in a cage without any companion and it keeps singing melodious and attractive song that are meant to attract the opposite sex, then this means that this bird is a male. Only male canaries will sing almost non-stop and often spontaneous. This is their way to attract a female bird. Female birds don’t sing as much as males do. They are actually more reserved and will just keep moving to and fro in its cage.

  • Parakeets and budgies

The parakeets and the budgies’ gender can be identified through their appearance. However, this would only apply to birds that have reached sexual maturity or the adult birds. Observe the color of the bump that is located above their nose, this is called the cere. Female parakeets and budgies have pinkish brown cere while the male species have blue. Young birds, whether male or female always have blue cere but the females ones will change over time after reaching maturity.

  • Cockatiels

For this specie, bird gender identification can be done through behavior observation and for some species of cockatiels, there are some differences in physical attributes. Female birds have sweet personality and are often reserved and quiet compared to the male specie that is often creating noise and chirping. The male species, since they create more sounds than the female are the ones who are normally trained for talking.

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Some species of cockatiels have few differences between the male and the female like the orange patches on their cheeks.  The male species have brighter orange compared to the faded color of the female.

  • Zebra finches

In terms of behavior, the male zebra finches have more clowny personality and would often do silly antics in their cage. They are more active and often move around. They are also more colorful than the female finches in terms of appearance.

DNA Testing for Bird Gender Identification

For other species of birds where identifying the sex is much more complicated, there are methods that we can do in order to successfully know which is the male and which is the female but among the clinical methods, this is the most accurate method which bird experts and pet owners use to identify bird gender.

They have their birds analyzed through DNA testing via PCR-based tests. Through this, the chromosome pairing can be configured and the gender will be revealed in which a female bird is the ZW chromosome and the male bird is the ZZ chromosome.

One of the advantages of doing this procedure is that the method is non-invasive which means there is no need to collect blood samples from bird which could stress them out. A few samples of feather are just enough to proceed with the test.

This could be done at any age of the bird, including newborn chicks. Newborns however are featherless at birth and it takes quite some time for their feathers to grow, and of course even if there are tiny pieces of feather on their skin, you wouldn’t want to pluck them out and injure them, right? Doing so can even affect the skin where the feathers were plucked out and might not grow any feather any more. You can also not collect blood samples from these fragile birds because that could be worse than plucking a few feathers. So for this scenario, what we recommend is to give the DNA test provider some samples of their egg shell. The DNA compounds in their egg shell can identify their sex.

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