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How to Tell Budgie Sexes Apart

Once a budgie is a few weeks old, you will be able to tell the sex of the bird by looking at its cere (the nose and nostril area). In normal circumstances, a hen’s is brown, and a cock’s is blue. The hen’s cere becomes enlarged and scaly during the breeding season, and the male’s becomes a darker shade of blue. Simple!

…But there are a few complications. Hens sometimes have a light blue cere, when their breeding hormone levels are low. It will also be this colour, or white with just a hint of blue, if the bird is ill. In the wild the female’s cere is light blue, turning brown during the nesting season. In young hens, the cere is a light blue with white around the nostrils.

Cock birds, although nearly always sporting a blue cere, may have a brown or brownish-pink one if his breeding hormones dip, or if he is ill. An ill male may develop a yellow-greenish tinge around the nostrils too. In immature cock budgies the cere is a blueish pink or light purple.

Budgie ceres - blue for a cock, brown for a hen

Some budgie types are harder to sex. Albino, Lutino and Mottled birds, for example, have off-white, light pink or bluish pink ceres, and males of some of the pied varieties have light pink, blueish pink or white ones. With hundreds of variations on the basic types mentioned in the Budgie types section (above), there is always a chance that your bird will have an ‘ambiguous’ cere colour. In 90% of cases, however, the brown-or-blue rule applies.

In spite of these complications, cere colour is still the easiest way of sexing budgies. There are a few gender-related differences in voice and behaviour, too; but these are not as consistently ‘male’ and ‘female’ as cere colour. If you inherit an adult bird of unknown sex and with an ambiguous cere, watch out for bonding behaviour – any excessive head-bobbing is likely to be a male, and any excessive squawking, rather than chirruping and singing, is probably female.

Young Budgie Sexes

Younger birds of all types are harder to sex than adults. By three weeks old, cocks have a blueish-pink cere, sometimes verging on lilac, and females have a blueish white one, usually with pure white around the nostrils. If the young birds belong to the Albino and Lutino group, you won’t be able to sex them without an internal examination – which is something you should never attempt in any circumstances. Time will deliver the answer, and there is no need to interfere with the bird during its early weeks.

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Brook, 10 July 2024

I got a budgie and named it ari so it would be a gender neutral name but idk if it's a girl or boy I can't find anything to tell what gender a rainbow budgie/parakeet is his cere is pink white and baby blue

Anonymous, 25 May 2022

My mother and I were just having a conversation about the birds my brother and I kept as children. They were "male" but turned out to be female when they both starting laying eggs simultaneously. The cere was always a distinct blue on both birds. I sincerely hope it meant that they were young females and not ill adult females, however they did die after only a few years of having them. I imagine it had something to do with excessive egg laying, we tried to supplement nutrients to make up for it. My mother's cockatiel had the exact same problem and laid eggs constantly until she prolapsed and had to be put down. If I could turn back time I would've done more for these birds but be we were young and the pet store indicated that all of our birds were male! We had no idea what we were dealing with. Misinformation abounds in many pet stores, do your research!

Theresa, 3 March 2021

I already have a male bird and am looking for another younger male. How can I tell them apart. The age of the bird I want needs to be at least 6 months old. My current bird is 1 or 2 years old.

Don, 21 August 2019

We have a rainbow budgie called Eli . having doubts if its a boy.. The cere has gone very brown but only after a bad bump and bruise on one side.. The most concerning thing is almost frantic chewing on anything he can get to .. he is 18 months old .. Have we got a girl ????

Cipher, 6 July 2019

I just got a budgie (An albino budgie) and I'm pretty sure she's female as she has a completely pink cere.....could I be mistaken?