The budgerigar – also known as the common parakeet or budgie – is a small, seed-eating parrot. It belongs to the Australian genus Melopsittacus. Because they’re from Australia, the budgies thrive in dry, warm climate.
Budgies originally come in one color: green with yellow and black patterns. But now, they also come in other colors too. This is caused by selective breeding. Throughout the years, bred budgies developed gray, blue and yellow colored feathers. Selective breeding also made them bigger compared to wild budgies. Because they are tame and sociable, budgies make great pets. In fact, they are the third most common pets right after cats and dogs.
Identifying the gender of a pet bird is not as simple as other pets. It takes an observant eye to identify a parakeet’s gender. But before you take your budgie to the vet just to know if it’s a male or female, consider these tips:
Observing Its Behavior
It might be a subtle difference, but male budgies are more sociable than female budgies. They are also a lot calmer than their female counterparts. Male budgies are also more vocal. They will chatter all day without getting tired of it! They also tend to develop a bond with other budgies.
Conversely, female budgies are affectionate but territorial. You can tell it’s a female parakeet when it keeps nipping or plucking out things. This is the parakeet’s defensive stance. Unlike male budgies, female budgies aren’t as sociable. They do not bond well with other females.
Now that you’ve learned the subtle changes in behavior between male and female budgies, let’s move on to their physical differences.
Observing Its Physical Features
One of the easiest way to tell if your budgie is a male or a female is observing its cere. Cere is the fleshy part of the parakeet’s beak.
Juvenile male budgies have pink-purple cere. Mature male budgies usually sport a royal blue cere. But some males have white or albino cere with pink eyes.
On the other hand, most mature female budgies have tan or brown cere. Immature female budgies have pink cere. All female budgies have white on the cere. If a female budgie is ready to mate, its cere will turn a crusty brown.
Do note that it’s hard to detect a parakeet’s gender through its cere if it’s sick. For instance, if a budgie is iodine-deficient, its cere color will appear brown or tan even if it’s a male.
Apart from the cere, check the cheek patches. A male budgie has dark purple cheek patches. A female has light purple cheek patches.
Other Factors to Consider
Identifying a male parakeet is easy. The signs are very straightforward. Female budgies are harder to detect because their cere changes color so often. Other times, female budgies will share similar behavior with male budgies!
Unless the parakeet laid eggs, you won’t be completely sure if it’s a female. If you want to know its gender from the get-go, ask the breeder the gender of the budgies before buying them. To remove all doubt, get an expert’s opinion.