How to Tell if a Cockatiel Is Male or Female

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Wait until the bird gets its adult plumage.,
Check whether your cockatiel has standard plumage.,
Examine the tail closely.,
Compare the faces.,
Compare the body plumage.,
Take the cockatiel to a veterinarian.

Male and female cockatiels look identical when young. After approximately six to nine months, the bird will molt for the first time and grow a new coat of plumage, typically more colorful and with more variation between the sexes.

A dull coat or faded colors can be a sign of poor nutrition, although sometimes it just takes a couple molts for the full, bright adult plumage to develop.
Do not provide a nest-box for juvenile birds, as this can stimulate over-early egg-laying or breeding, which harms the female.;
, Normal grey cockatiels without mutations have grey bodies with a yellow head and orange cheek circles. These can be identified using the steps below. If your cockatiel doesn’t match these descriptions, its ancestors have been bred for unusual plumage, and you have a bigger challenge ahead of you. A few identifying characteristics for these breeds are mentioned below, but you will often have to rely on behavioral cues.

, In normal grey cockatiel breeds, adult females (and all juveniles) have markings on the underside of the tail feathers. These are often horizontal stripes alternating grey/dark grey or white/grey or yellow/grey, but some females have dots or irregular patterning on a grey background. If you don’t see any, hold the cockatiel up so its tail is in front of a bright light and examine closely. If you still don’t see any markings, the cockatiel is probably a male.

Lutino breeds, or pale yellow and pale white birds that still have cheek circles, can be identified by the female’s yellow spots under the wings and yellow marks under the tail. You may need to use a bright light in order to see these., In normal grey cockatiel breeds, the male typically has more striking facial feathers, with vivid orange spots standing out from a bright yellow face. The female face has lighter orange spots, generally on a more muted yellow or grey backdrop.In some breeds, only the males develop a yellow face after molting, while the female keeps her juvenile grey or brownish face.Cockatiels with the white face mutation but non-white bodies sometimes have males with no cheek spots at all, and females with faint cheek spots that match the body plumage., Cockatiel breeds with grey body plumage tend to include darker grey plumage on males, and lighter grey on females. This is one of the less reliable methods, but it may help confirm suspicions raised by earlier tests. Breeds with non-grey body plumage are rarely identifiable this way.

In some breeds, the female also has faint yellow spots on the underside of the wings.In pearled cockatiels, which have white dots on a non-white body, the male loses these “pearls” after the first molt, while the female keeps them., The last test that relies on physical anatomy should only be done by a veterinarian. Inexperienced people could seriously hurt the cockatiel during the attempt, and are unlikely to be able to tell the difference anyway. Ask the veterinarian to sex your cockatiel, and he will probably examine the shape of the pelvic bones, which tend to be wider in the female. Even this is not a completely reliable method, as there is a great deal of variation between individuals.

The older a cockatiel is, the more likely this method is to work, especially if the bird belonged to a breeder as an adult and may have laid an egg in the past.If you want to be completely certain, ask for a DNA test.

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