So you bought yourself a budgie, and now the question has been nagging at you... Is it a boy or a girl? It's not too difficult to tell with budgies, but it can be confusing for beginning bird owners.
Boy Or Girl?
Most bird species are not sexually dimorph. This means that you can't tell what gender it is, simply by looking at it. Luckily, we're talking budgies here! Although it can be difficult for beginners and non-bird owners to tell the gender of a budgie, with a few simple tips, you'll be able to determine if your bird is aTweeter or a Tweetine (Dear Lord, please don't actually use those names...!).
Male budgies tend to be the calmer, more social of the species. The hens, while they can be very sweet, tend to be more aggressive towards strangers, will be more inclined to defend their territory, and will nibble on things more. This is due to their instinct to create and defend their nest. The males also talk a lot more. Very few hens actually chatter like the males do.
As mentioned, the males are also more social. They are more likely to create a strong bond with another male in the group, whereas females very seldom have a best female friend.
Of course, as far as behavior goes, that is easily modified and therefore not always very reliable. The above is something you'll more easily notice if you have several budgies. It's also possible that you have one female budgie that acts like a male. This is because it's spent a lot of its life around the males of her species and learned how to behave from them.
This is the one that's most often used to distinguish a gender. Superficially speaking, there is absolutely no difference between cocks and hens. But take a closer look at the colored swollen patch on their beak (this is called a cere). The color of the cere is the key to revealing the mystery of a budgie's gender.
A male budgie will almost always (except when it's an albino) have a dark blue cere. If it's a very young bird, the cere will be purple. After a couple of months, the budgie's cere will change color, indicating that it's maturing (but not fertile yet!). So purple turns to dark blue when it's a male. But what about a female?
Females are the cause of the most confusion. People with male budgies seldom wind up really being unsure as to the gender. But females sometimes have blue in their ceres too, and that's mostly where the confusion sets in.
Females usually begin with a very light blue cere, sometimes it's almost white. If your bird is very young, you should be able to see very clear white rings around the nostrils. Not all hens have this though, so don't let that make or break your decision. As she ages, her cere will turn to a darker light blue. Sometimes she'll still have the white nostrils. Sometimes, her cere will turn a shade of pink. If she's feeling like breeding, it'll be brown and crusty. It could be beige. But it will never be dark blue!
The most telling of all...
If your budgie lays eggs, you can be pretty sure it's a female. Well, that, or you call National Geographic Channel and tell them to come over.
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