Four beautiful budgies - Parakeets
Photo by bazil/Deposit Photos

How can you tell if a parakeet is male or female?

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I just got a young parakeet (budgie), and am wondering how to find out if it’s a boy or a girl. I can’t really tell the sex in the obvious mammalian way, so how can you figure it out?


Budgie gender bender

Congrats on your new addition! Birds make fantastic, loyal pets, they’re pretty to look at, and they make lots of cute little noises. (And some that are not so cute, like when you’re trying to sleep in.)

There are lots of reasons to try to tell the sex of your parakeet. It could be to find out what his or her personality will be like, if your budgie will be a talker, or if you should expect teeny-tiny eggs.

Or maybe it’s just that you’re trying to think of a name for your little guy/girl, and — instead of going for something gender-neutral like “Pat” or “Bacon” or “Bird” — you’d like to find something a little more specific.

Budgie - parakeet flying
Photo by bazil/Deposit Photos

Is your parakeet is male or female? Here’s how to do find out

Take a look at your bird’s cere, which is the little bump on the beak where the nostrils are.

Boy: If it’s purplish or blue, you have a male, like the little guy in the photo here.

Girl: The cere colors of a female can range from pink to maroon to brown — and sometimes they’re even white or really pale blue or pale purple.

Budgie boy and girl

General guideline: Almost always, if your bird has a cere that is clearly blue, you have a boy. If not, it’s probably a girl. Also note that this gender rule stays the same no matter the color of your bird’s plumage.

However #1: Your budgie needs to be more than three or four months old to be able to reliably use the color as an indicator.

However #2: If your bird is an albino (all white), you probably won’t be able to tell from the cere.

MORE: How do you teach a cockatiel to sing and whistle?

Parakeets on a branch
Photo by bazil/Deposit Photos

Try saying budgerigars ten times fast

What we call parakeets are actually budgerigars (budgies), and are small seed-eating parrots originally from Australia that have been around for millions of years. (They go back way longer than that if you consider the theory that all birds evolved from the dinosaurs.)

For more info, check out Wavian.com and Budgie Place, which include handy reference photos and lots more info about ‘keets — including shopping lists, feeding instructions, lifespan info, and other care instructions.