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Mary or Bob? What is your Cockatiel’s name? Is it a boy or a girl? Depending on the variety of Cockatiel you own, sexing cockatiels can be quite difficult. There are four basic ways to identify whether your cockatiel is a boy or a girl.

They include surgical sexing which is 100% accurate, taking your bird to your avian veterinarian for an examination and an educated guess, behavior, or looking at their coloration. Let’s take a look at all four options.

Sexing Cockatiels with Avian veterinarian


Taking your cockatiel to your avian veterinarian may result in an accurate identification. During the check-up your veterinarian will examine your bird’s bones at the base of their stomachs. In females the bones tend to be more flexible and are spaced farther apart than in males.

It must be noted that this examination is for experienced avian veterinarians only. You do not want to go poking and prodding your cockatiel to see if it is male or female, you could easily end up harming them. An unidentified bird is better than a dead bird.

Cockatiel Sexing Using Coloration and Feather Patterns

Sexually dimorphic, meaning males and females have differences in their appearance. Male cockatiels tend to have brightly colored faces and crests while the hen’s face and crest are generally gray and duller in coloring.

Male cockatiels have tails that are solid in color while females tend to have stripes or bars on the underside of their tail feathers. Sometimes the differences in coloration and the feather patterns can be quite subtle and difficult to recognize.

Cockatiel Sexing Judged by Behavior

Male cockatiels tend to be more verbal than females. The males will sing and mimic words and sounds much more often than females


However, some females will sing and mimic sounds and words so identification based on their verbal skills isn’t always accurate.Males also tend to exhibit distinct mating behaviors from rubbing their vent against a toy to positioning their wings back while they whistle in a mating display. Females tend to be a bit more coy.


Females also tend to molt earlier than males do. They tend to begin molting around 9 months while the males molt a bit later.

Surgical Cockatiel Sexing


The only guarantee of getting an accurate identification, of knowing whether you have a Bob or a Mary, is to take your cockatiel to the avian veterinarian for surgical sexing.

Generally the DNA of your cockatiel is drawn from a feather though it is also common to draw a bit of blood. Both are accurate.


If you absolutely must know whether your cockatiel is a male or a female then surgical sexing, while the most expensive option, is the most accurate. If you are simply curious, taking a look at behavior and coloring will likely give you an accurate guess. No matter what sex your cockatiel is though it's important you provide the correct cockatiel care.


Both male and female cockatiels make wonderful pets and have their unique characteristics. If you’re not breeding, choose a cockatiel that comes from a reputable source and take great care of them. They’re return your great care with love, adoration and a lifetime of companionship.

July 23, 2011 at 7:41 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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