To the average eye, parakeets all look very similar and it can be difficult to determine the sex of the bird. To help parakeet owners with this, I’ve collected some tips and tricks to help you be able to spot the differences between male and female birds.
So, how do you sex parakeets? Male and female parakeets are indistinguishable until they are at least one year old. After a year, they are distinguished by a cere (fleshy skin above the nostrils). The cere on a female parakeet is usually white, light blue, or light tan. On a male, the cere is blue or a purple/blue color.
Telling the sex of a parakeet can be tricky when you’re only dealing with the color of the cere. Some people have a hard time telling the difference between colors, and it can be tricky! Lucky for you, there are a few other ways to really tell the difference between a male and a
How To Really Tell The Difference
There are several ways for you to determine whether you should name your new parakeet Sally or Joe. The first thing you’ll need to know is the age of your parakeet.
Up until a parakeet is one year old, the cere of males and females is the same color- a bright pink or light purple. After the one year mark passes, the cere on the male and female starts to change into different colors.
When a bird has a light purple/ rose colored cere, it is a
As the bird reaches maturity, his cere will then become a different shade of blue, with no visible white, and can even turn to more of a blue/ purplish color.
As far as females go, a young female’s cere will look like a whiteish blue with visible white rings around
As she reaches maturity, her cere will turn a lighter color, usually white or tan or light blue with white.
Cere colors are the most basic way to tell the difference between the sexes, but if colors are difficult for you to identify, or you want more ways to prove the sex, there are a few other methods you can use.
One of the first ways is to look for white colored rings on a parakeet’s nostril. If you notice these rings, then you are looking at a female bird. Male parakeets do not have these white rings.
Another way to tell the difference between a male and female parakeet is to look at the shape of their cere. A male has a more round, circular and almost bulging looking cere, where females do not.
The next way to find of the sex of your bird is to check the bite. This might be a painful way to find out the sex, so we suggest using food or a toy that they can gnaw on. Females are known to bite a lot harder than males. This might not always be the case, but it rings true more often than not.
Lastly, look at the head shape of the bird. In general, male parakeets have rounder heads, and female parakeets have flatter heads.
How to Tell the Age of Your Parakeet
The age and sex characteristics of parakeets are closely related. They will gain more distinct features as they grow older. So how can you tell how old your new bird is?
There are quite a few ways to tell how old your parakeet is.
The first is the eyes. The eyes of a baby parakeet will be the deepest black color and will usually stay that color until they are around 4 months old. At this time, your parakeet’s irises will start to fade to a dark grey or even brown color.
This stage is how you can tell if they are between 4 and 8 months old. Light grey eyes indicate a fully mature bird! And just like that, you know how old your bird is by the color of their eyes!
Another way to find out the age of your parakeet is to look at the color of the cere, as was mentioned earlier. The cere of the male bird will start to darken once they are one year old, and the female will be a lighter color such as white or tan.
Lastly, a simple way to figure out the age of your parakeet is to look at the bird’s leg band. Most parakeets are registered with the American Budgerigar Society and have leg brands to prove this.
Some birds don’t have one, but if yours does, look at the letters and numbers. This will help you figure out when they were born.
Getting in contact with them can easily help you determine your bird’s date of birth based on the numbers and letters on the leg band.
How to Breed Your Parakeet
If you love your parakeet so much that you want more, you may consider breeding parakeets. If this is the case, there are a few vital key steps you should know! It can be a long process, but knowing the basics is a perfect way to start.
Parakeets are usually ready to start breeding after one year of age. When the female cere turns brown and flaky, she is ready to breed. That is the best time to place the birds together.
First, make sure the two birds you choose to mate are healthy and happy birds. Find two birds that are not related in order to prevent any inbreeding birth defects.
Once you have your birds, bring them into a vet or breeder to make sure they are as healthy as possible.
Second, parakeets need to bond in order to breed. Placing birds of similar colors and patterns together will help with that process. Set them up in a big cage so they can get used to living together.
If the birds start fighting, remove one of them from the cage and re-introduce them after they’ve spent a few days apart. If they still fight, try introducing a different bird, preferably one that is well socialized and also healthy for breeding.
Something you’ll want to do next is to place a wooden nesting box inside the cage. This will give the female a place to lay her eggs. The nesting box mimics how the birds prepare to mate in the wild.
Next, place a concave dish inside of the nesting box. This will provide a place for the female to lay her eggs and a safe place for the baby birds to stand up once they hatch.
How to Build Trust and Train Your Parakeet
Properly caring for parakeets includes spending time training and bonding with them. This will make it much easier for you to breed them in the future and identify any changes in their behavior. Parakeets can be trained to do simple tasks such as:
- Talk and mimic human speech
- Stop bad behaviors such as biting
- Become hand-tamed
- Sit on your finger
- Perform some simple tricks
The most important things you’ll need to train your parakeet are time, patience and practice. In order to teach your parakeet how to do things like sit on your finger and become hand-tamed, you’ll need to spend some quality time alone with your bird to build trust.
Spending time with your parakeet, using praise, and giving rewards will help build that trust and the rest will come naturally once your pet knows you and feels comfortable.
Helping your bird start to mimic human speech is done by repeating phrases. Try to use the same tone of voice until they become familiar and begin to say the phrases themselves. Rewards and encouragement help too!
What is the life expectancy of a Parakeet? The life expectancy of a parakeet depends on the type of parakeet. Budgerigars live for 5-10 years, monk parakeets live for 15-20 years and plain parakeets on average live for 15 years. If you are properly caring for these birds, they should live for several years.
What do Parakeets eat? Parakeets are vegetarians who love to eat vegetables. Green, leafy vegetables, such as kale, dandelion leaves, romaine lettuce, spinach, and sprouted seeds are all favorites of these birds. They can also be fed approved food pellets that contain the right balance of nutrients.