If you’re new to bird ownership or still in the planning stage of buying one, you’re probably wondering how to tell if a parakeet is male or female.
The truth is, there is no surefire way to determine a bird’s gender at first glance.
In general, the following factors can help you distinguish whether you own a male or female parakeet: the color of its cere, its behavior, or its voice. But if you’re still unsure, you can ask an experienced breeder or vet about it. Endoscopic and DNA testing are also options for identifying sex.
Fortunately, to fully understand how you can tell the difference between male and female parakeets, this step-by-step guide will discuss these factors and methods in more detail. So if you are curious, continue reading!
How to Tell If a Parakeet Is Male or Female
For many people, knowing how to tell if a parakeet is female or male is crucial for various reasons.
For example, if you are trying to breed your birds, you will want to know the sex of each one so that you can pair them up appropriately. Your budgie’s gender also generally influences their behavior and personality traits.
Fortunately, parakeets are sexually dimorphic. This means you can slightly tell the difference between the two genders by looking at their physical characteristics.
It should be noted, though, that if you own a young parakeet, it can be difficult to determine their sex until they reach maturity.
Nonetheless, the following steps can help you discern if your budgie parakeet is a male or female:
Step 1: Locate the bird’s cere
The cere, pronounced as “sear,” is a small, fleshy patch of skin located on the top of the parakeet’s beak. It usually comes in shades of pink, bright blue, light tan, dark purple, white, and whitish blue.
Moreover, the color of a budgie’s cere can change throughout the bird’s lifespan — it will become brighter or darker as your feathered friend ages or when mating season comes.
Step 2: Distinguish the cere color of male and female parakeets
In male budgies, the color of their cere can range from light blue to dark purple, while a female’s cere will be either white or brown.
To make it easier for you, here is a rundown of how each cere color corresponds to a parakeet’s gender:
- Blue cere: Male parakeets, in general, have blue-colored ceres. However, due to color mutations, hormonal imbalance, and genetics, some males end up with pale blue, pink, or brown ones.
- Purple cere: If your budgie sports a dark blue to purple cere, it is likely a male. In fact, this shade is usually seen in older male parakeets during mating season.
- Brown cere: Similar to the purple color, brown ceres are commonly found on female budgies that are ready for breeding. As they mature, you’ll also notice that their nostrils get larger and become crustier in texture.
- Pinkish cere: While a pink-colored cere is a sign of a young male parakeet, it is not an accurate indicator of gender. In most cases, albino and lutino budgies possess pinkish ceres as well.
- White cere: Typically, a white cere means you have a young female budgie. But if you look closely, you can also see a white ring around the edge of the cere — this indicates that your bird is not yet sexually mature.
Remember that looking at our pet birds’ ceres is not foolproof. Hence, it is best to check other signs to confirm if you have a female or male parakeet.
Step 3: Examine the feathers and feet of your parakeet
As with cere colors, the shade of your parakeet’s feathers and feet can sometimes provide you with clues about its gender.
For instance, a blue parakeet with gray feet and blue legs is likely a male. A pink or brown-colored footed parakeet, on the other hand, is probably a female bird.
Regardless, it is worth noting that feather colors can change as bird species mature. Therefore, pet owners should not rely on pigment alone when determining the sex of their baby budgie.
Step 4: Observe your parakeet’s behavior
Aside from visual inspection, behavioral differences between male and female parakeets are another way to identify the gender of your feathered friend.
Generally speaking, male budgies are more energetic and playful than females. They are also more likely to engage in courtship and mating behaviors when housed with other birds.
In contrast, females tend to be quieter and less active than their male counterparts. But despite these laid-back tendencies, they’re often aggressive and territorial when it comes to protecting their nest box or offspring.
However, if you own only one female budgie and the rest are males, there is a high possibility that they will behave similarly. As a result, determining their gender through this method can be quite tricky.
Step 5: Listen to your parakeet’s chattering
Like their English budgie cousins, parakeets are known for being one of the most talkative birds in the parrot family.
They not only love to chirp but also have some pretty unique calls that can help you pinpoint their sex.
When comparing budgie behavior, male parakeets tend to be chattier than females. You will also notice that males are more likely to do head bobbing and wing flicking when they are happy or excited about something.
Conversely, female birds are less vocal and prefer to stay in their cage while they eat, drink, or preen themselves.
It should be noted, though, that there are exceptions to these generalizations — for example, some females will be more outgoing than others due to their personality, environment, or hormonal fluctuations.
Step 6: Check the biting tendency of your male or female budgie
In general, birds are known for their tendency to bite. Since parakeets are no exception to this rule, you must understand how to discern between a male and female budgie based on their biting habits.
Because of their high testosterone level, females are usually more territorial than males and are more likely to bite.
Meanwhile, males tend to be docile and will rarely bite unless they feel frightened or threatened.
Note, however, that this method does not apply to young parakeets. They may still bite regardless of whether they are male or female because they haven’t yet developed the ability for self-defense or territoriality.
As you can see, most of these steps rely on the parakeet reaching adulthood. Thus, keep reading to find out at what age parakeets can be sexed!
At What Age Can You Tell a Parakeet’s Gender?
It is typically possible to tell the sex of a parakeet between 6 and 12 months of age.
That said, young budgies may show signs of their gender earlier or later than this range if they are in the process of cere molting.
During this time, your bird’s cere and feathers will slightly change in color and texture. The previously pink-colored cere of male parakeets should become darker blue — and the female’s cere should turn brown or light tan.
Here is a video that will also explain the difference between male vs. female parakeet cere color:
In addition to the color change, you can also rely on the behavioral cues mentioned earlier.
At this point of development, your parakeet is now sexually mature and will start showing signs that they are ready for breeding.
Other Ways to Tell the Gender of a Parakeet
Besides looking at your feathery friend’s beak, feet, and legs, there are still other ways to tell the gender of a parakeet. Furthermore, these are foolproof methods that do not require any guesswork on your part.
Doing a DNA test is one of the most accurate ways of determining whether or not your parakeet is male or female.
You just need to collect some of your bird’s fallen feathers or any other forms of DNA sample and send them off for testing. In some cases, however, your vet may request a blood sample instead.
Surgical or Endoscopic Testing
If you are okay with the idea of surgical or endoscopic testing, then this is a great way to find out your parakeet’s gender.
However, your budgie will need to be placed under general anesthesia in order for this procedure to work. So if you are concerned about your pet’s safety, you may need to consider another option.
Furthermore, keep in mind that if you choose to proceed with this type of testing, make sure that your vet is experienced in veterinary endoscopy — specifically if your parakeet has special needs or health concerns.
An obvious way to determine your parakeet’s gender is by observing whether or not they lay eggs. If you notice your budgie building a nest and laying eggs, then you have a female on your hands.
However, note that not all female birds will lay eggs, so this is not always an accurate technique for discerning your feathered pet’s sex.
Go to a Professional
If you’re still having trouble figuring out whether your budgie is male or female, you can take it to a professional.
An experienced breeder or avian vet can help you with this, as they have the tools and knowledge to identify a bird’s gender.
In addition to sexing your parakeet, they may also be able to give you some tips on how to care for it.
When pet owners get a new bird, one of the most frequently asked questions is, “Is my parakeet male or female?” Of course, a bird’s green or blue feathers do not necessarily tell you anything about its sex.
But with its cere’s gender-specific color, the pigment of its legs, and the other visual cues discussed above, it is possible to make an educated guess as to whether your parakeet is female or male.
However, remember that when using visual sexing, you may have to wait for quite a while. Usually, a female or male budgie will only show signs of sexual maturity after 12 months.
Fortunately, surgical and DNA tests can also be used to determine the gender of a bird with greater accuracy.
Now that you know how to tell if a parakeet is male or female, don’t forget to share your bird’s gender in the comments below!