Parrots are known for their intelligence and ability to mimic human speech, but they also have some unique characteristics that distinguish them from other birds.
Parrots are highly social animals, and they communicate using complex vocalizations. They also possess a large brain relative to body size, and they are able to learn new skills such as tool use.
There are over 400 species of parrot, ranging from the tiny budgerigar to the enormous macaw.
The majority of parrots are sexually dimorphic (meaning males and females look very different), but some species exhibit no sexual differences at all.
Parakeets are a type of parrot that is also called budgies. How can you tell the gender of a parakeet? Keep reading to find out more.
Is Your Parakeet Male Or Female?
The first thing you need to be aware of is that the only way to be certain of the gender of your parakeet is to do a DNA test. This will need to be done by a veterinarian.
Understanding the visual differences can give you a good idea, but sometimes they are hard to spot.
There are some occasions when parakeets or budgies seem to ignore the normal rules and they take on the appearance of the opposite sex.
If you are going to sex your parakeet based on physical characteristics, the best way to do this is by looking at the cere.
The cere is an area above the beak that is the ‘nose’ of the bird, as it is where the nostrils are.
It is different in color from the beak, and this color is what is going to give you information about the parakeet.
However, it is not that simple! The color can also vary based on age, broodiness, and color mutations, and there is not just one color for males and one color for females.
This is why it is important to have a good idea of the age of the parakeet before you try to figure out its gender.
If you are figuring out the gender of a young parakeet or budgie then the difference between the color of their coats will be very subtle.
If the parakeet is a young male then the cere will be a pinky color or a light purple color. A young female parakeet’s cere is more of a light blue or white-blue color.
It might be very difficult to distinguish between them. The male parakeet’s cere tends to be a little darker.
It tends to be much easier to gender an adult parakeet than a younger one.
Adult Parakeets And Color Mutations
Adult makes parakeet cere color is quite simple. They are always blue, but they will be much brighter if they are ready to breed.
This fits in with a lot of other bird species that use bright colors to entice their mate into breeding. When the bird is not ready to breed then the cere will be a light blue color.
Adult female parakeets have a brown cere when they are feeling broody or ready to mate. Otherwise, it will tend to be white but sometimes with a hint of very light blue.
Females will never have a dark blue cere, so if your bird has one that is dark blue it will be a male.
However, there are exceptions to this with albino, lutino, pied parakeets, or budgies as they have gene mutations that change the colors of the feathers, eyes, and other parts of their body.
Albino parakeets are white with red eyes, lutino parakeets are yellow with red eyes, and peid parakeets have a recessive gene that can sometimes affect their color.
These color mutations tend to give adult male parakeets a pink or purple color on their cere. This means that it stays very similar to the juvenile color.
The females still have a brown cere when they are feeling broody, but when they aren’t broody it will be white or tan rather than white or blue.
If a tinge of red or pink is present then it is fairly safe to assume that the parakeet is a male- females don’t display those colors.
Other Ways To Gender A Parakeet
Whilst the color of the cere is often the best and quickest way to gender a parakeet, it can be challenging.
If the colors are too difficult to tell apart or don’t fit into the normal pattern, then you will need to try something else.
Parakeets display certain behavioral traits that can be used to tell the sexes apart.
However, it is important to note that these traits can give you an idea of gender but are not always accurate.
You can get female parakeets that act in quite a masculine way or male parakeets that behave in a feminine way.
But it can still be a helpful way to make you feel more confident in your decision when figuring out the gender or your parakeet.
Male parakeets tend to sing a lot more than females. If your parakeet squawks a lot but doesn’t sing then there is a good chance that it is female.
Males also like to ‘dance’, which is their way of flirting. They bob their head around to attract attention and lure a mate.
Female parakeets are quite assertive and bossy. They can also appear to be destructive as they like to tip things apart to create nesting material.
Types Of Parakeet
Certain types of parakeets have different ways that you can tell the genders apart. Here is a list of some of the different types of parakeets and their gender differences.
Male Bourke’s parakeets have a band or patch of blue feathers just above the cere, but this will only display once they reach their full maturity.
The females might also have some blue feathers in this area, but they will be much lighter in color and less obvious.
The male Bourke’s parakeets are very flirty- they strut around, bounce, dance, and pull back their wings. If your parakeet is displaying these behaviors it is probably male.
The males are also more likely to sing and make lengthy, vocal noises.
Female Bourke’s parakeets often have smaller heads and darker feathers, with less bright colors. When they vocalize, it tends to be in shorter tones with less singing.
Indian Ringneck Parakeet
Indian Ring-neck parakeets tend to reach their full maturity at around 3 years old. From this point on, you should be able to spot some differences between males and females.
The neck ring that gives these birds their names is only visible on the males. That means that if your parakeet has a noticeable neck ring then it is a male.
However, if you have an albino or lutino parakeet then it will not show up at all, regardless of gender.
The male parakeets will extend their wings and tail feathers in a flirty display, as well as dance and bob their heads.
The females have shorter tail feathers and a stockier build.
There are very few differences between male and female lineolate parakeets, so you are better off getting a DNA test done.
You may notice that the barring or striped pattern is more pronounced in the male birds and that the tail feathers of the females are less black at the tips.
Red Rump Parakeets
If your Red Rump Parakeet is an adult then telling males and females apart should be very easy.
The males are bright green with the signature red rump, whereas the females have no red on them at all and tend to display much duller colors.
Monk parakeets are dimorphic, which means that the males and females look the same. The only way you will be able to tell the genders apart is by getting a DNA test done.
Alexandrine parakeets have a very similar appearance to Indian Ring-neck parakeets, but they are larger.
As with the Indian Ring-necks, you won’t be able to gender Alexandrine parakeets until they reach maturity at three years old.
Alexandrine parakeets also have a neck ring that is only visible on male parakeets, not the females.
Eastern Rosella Parakeets
After these birds have reached maturity and molted their baby feathers, you should be able to tell the sexes apart by their coloring.
Unlike many other birds, the female Eastern Rosella parakeets are quite colorful. However, they are not as colorful as the males.
The underside of their wings tends to have a white stripe, but so do all juveniles which is why you need to wait until the bird is mature before you figure out its gender.
To check for the stripe, gently hold the bird and extend its wing.
The male Eastern Rosella parakeets have a bigger head and beak than the females. Their feathers are more brightly colored, with larger cheek patches.
Kakariki parakeets are also called Red-Crowned parakeets. Telling the males and females apart is quite simple.
Male red-crowned parakeets are bigger than females- the female parakeets are smaller and lighter. The males also have larger and longer beaks.
What happens if you decide to sex your parakeet via a DNA test?
Most breeders prefer to use a blood sample to test the DNA, but you can also use feather or eggshell samples.
The DNA samples will contain cells that include the blueprint of the DNA Foundation, and included in this will be confirmation of whether the parakeet is made or female.
The blood samples are taken by a veterinarian and then sent off to a laboratory where the cells are extracted.
The cells are then amplified and combined with DNA markers which can detect sex chromosomes.
ZZ sex chromosomes show that the parakeet is male and ZW chromosomes show that the parakeet is female.
The results of the DNA test result are sent back to the veterinarian who will give them to the owner.
If you decide to use feathers or eggshells instead of blood samples then this is usually less stressful and intrusive for the bird.
You might also be able to send the samples off to the laboratory yourself.
Why Does Gender Matter?
Why do you need to know how to tell male and female parakeets apart?
Why is the gender of your bird so important? It mainly depends on why you want to have a parakeet in the first place.
If you are planning to breed parakeets then you need to be certain about the gender of the bird. In this case, it is best to get a DNA test.
If you get parakeets that are of the wrong gender then you will end up wasting money on birds that cannot mate.
If you are getting a parakeet to keep as a pet or companion then you might have certain preferences, in which case it will be important to choose the right gender.
Each bird has its personality and some male birds will behave more manly and vice versa, but you can still choose a male or female parakeet based on which traits you would like your pet to display.
A lot of people believe that males make better pets than females. This is because they sing more often and their tunes are usually more elaborate.
They learn to talk more than females do, but are quieter in terms of volume. Males are less bossy and tend to be easier to tame.
Females will still talk and sing, but they stick to simple squawks and flock calls. They can be quite assertive, especially when they are feeling broody.
During this time they also like to create nesting materials by shredding materials in their cage.
They might also make themselves a little nest area and will become very protective and territorial of this area.
However, the benefit of female parakeets is that they tend to bond more with their owners.
Summary: Which Gender Parakeet Should You Get?
Whilst there are differences between male and female parakeets, they both make excellent pets.
The most important thing is that you choose the bird that you connect with the most or that you are drawn to.
Remember, you can never be 100% certain of the gender of your parakeet without a DNA test.