pets

Is my cockatiel a boy or a girl?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Every week Dr Chris Brown answers your pet questions — submit your own or browse our archives.

Question

"Is there an easy way to tell the sex of my cockatiel? I've been told that DNA testing is the only way but I was hoping that vets have a secret way of telling that won't cost me an arm and a leg."
— Nikki

Answer

Fortunately for you and your bird, you'll soon know whether your friend is a Barry or a Barbara. That's because in cockatiels, what separates the males from the females is quite clear.

That difference? Well, it's a little bit 'cheeky' in some respects! Almost as if they've resorted to a bit of a dab of the make-up brush, the males are blessed with bright patches of orange, yellow or red on their cheeks while the females prefer the more 'understated' splash of grey on their faces. The males also tend to have a yellow flash of colour on the top of their head that often extends right up onto the comb.

Yes, essentially the males are the show-offs!
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