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Sexing Cockatiels

              

Sexing Cockatiels

 

I have lost count of the number of times I have heard the question asked "How can I tell the sex of my cockatiel?". It is sometimes very easy to tell the difference but in some cases it comes down to "if it lays an egg it's a hen!" Sounds like a very silly statement I know but with all the different mutations available these days and the multiple combinations of these mutations found within the one bird, sexing cockatiels can at times be very difficult.

There are a lots of different opinions on what methods are available for sexing cockatiels. Some are very accurate and others are just 'old wives tales'. The most common fallacy that I hear is that males have a brighter orange cheekpatch than hens. If only it was that simple! Unfortunately  the brightness of the cheekpatch holds little relevance to sexing cockatiels at all.

Among the many I have heard of, the most accurate methods of sexing cockatiels are either DNA sexing, seeing a hen lay an egg or genetically sexing due to colour of the parents. Other methods that are fairly reliable but are mutation dependent are the face colour, wingspot sexing, and barred tail feathers . Behavioural characteristics are often fairly accurate as well but it must be kept in mind that there is always a few birds that don't do the usual thing.

Some experienced breeders have good success in sexing cockatiels by feeling the shape of pelvic bones and the gap between them. The hens are said to have more rounded bones with a wider gap between them than the more pointed ones of a cock bird. I have had varied success with this method and would rather leave it to those that have more experience.

Below are links to my pages with a more in depth explanation and pictures to assist with some of the methods used for sexing cockatiels.

Visually Sexing Cockatiels

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