I get many questions to do with whether a budgie is a girl or a boy so thought it was about time to make a budgie sexing page. It will give you the information you need to learn how to tell males from females, boys from girls, cocks from hens...
I have also produced a free Windows Phone App called Cere, which will allow you to work out the gender of any budgie and will link to that soon.
It works the same way as Geneius (which tells you what combination of varieties a budgie is) so take a look and see what you think!
Adult budgies (as pictured on the right) are easier to sex than chicks or fledglings, and the signs are different, so firstly you need to decide which age group your bird falls into.
As chicks most budgie varieties have the barring (markings on their head) down the forehead to near the cere (the flesh around the nostrils). If your budgie has barring down its forehead you can be sure it is a chick still. Another feature to look for is a dark tip to the birds beak, though this may not be present in chicks with orange beaks.
Also, chicks do not have an iris ring (the light ring around the iris in the eye). Most varieties gain an iris ring as they mature but some do not (Recessive Pieds, Lacewings, Dark Eyed Clears and German Fallows and sometimes Inos). The iris ring develops at about 4-6 months, so if your budgie does not belong to these varieties and you have only had it a short time then the lack of an iris ring indicates it is still a youngster.
In the youngsters above you can see the barring, at different strengths,
the solid coloured eyes without an iris ring, and the dark tip on one
of their beaks. Adults, on the other hand lose the forehead barring and gain an iris ring in most varieties.
Sometimes there can be little discrepancies to throw you off. Some varieties, especially opaline, can have what is called flecking. This is when the bird has spots of markings left on the forehead after the adult moult. It is more common on show type budgies and is not usually in the nice ordered bars that chicks have, being more scattered and random, as on the bird on the right. And as I have mentioned above, some varieties never develop the iris ring.
If in doubt the other thing to consider is that young budgies usually have much softer 'fluffier' looking feathers and they become more sleek and firm looking as adults. The baby feathering is primarily for keeping warm but as adults it must also help with flight and protection in the outside world.
If you absolutely can't work out the age you can either run through the information for both adults and chicks, or wait for 5 months and see if anything changes.
Lets start with the girls.
Check out the Budgie Body Parts page if you don't know what the cere is.
Now for the boys. Adult cocks have one of two types of cere colour.
Take a look at the images below and above to help distinguish between a pale hens cere and a fleshy cocks cere. Males ceres are smooth and slightly domed in shape, becoming rough like a hens may indicate problems.
If you take a look up the page on the right you will see a picture of a pair of wild budgies. This is a lovely image clearly showing the male and female cere differences.
Sexing youngsters provide a bit more of a challenge, some are obvious not long after leaving the nest but often you need to give them a few weeks before it is clear. Here are a few things you can check:
Below are some photos of young hens. The first hen is a little older and her cere is starting to turn brown.
I appreciate that this may seem like a lot of information, but once you have worked out a few budgie sexing will begin to come more easily. If you click on the photos in the right column you can see them in a larger form. Feel free to pin them to your own Pinterest board.