How to tell a budgie’s gender/sex

If you are looking into the idea of getting a budgie, you might prefer a certain gender over the other. Or perhaps you already own a budgie but don’t know their gender. In this article, I will help you determine whether your (future) budgie is male or female.

What indicates their gender

Luckily, in most cases, you can quite easily determine a budgie’s gender yourself, without needing the help of a vet. There’s also no need to thoroughly examine their body to find the part that tells you what gender they are. All you need to look at is their cere. If you are new to budgies, you probably don’t know yet what a cere is yet. The easiest way to describe it: it’s their nose. When you look at your budgies face, you will see two round pieces of skin right above their beak. In the centre of them, you will find their nostrils. This area of their face is known as the cere. The cere is always free from feather growth, and therefore easy to find. Once you have located your little friends’ cere, you can (in most cases) determine their gender based on the colour of the cere.

Light blue or pink

If your budgie has a light blue or pink cere, it means they are still young. Light blue and pink are known as the baby cere colours. When your budgie is around 12 months of age, their cere will start to change into its adult colour. You might think that a pink cere indicates your budgie is a girl because people tend to associate pink with girls and blue with boys, but for budgies, it’s exactly the other way around. A light pink cere indicates your budgie is a boy, and his cere will change over time to a dark blue colour. If your budgie has a light blue cere AND has white around the nostrils, they are most likely a girl.

My budgie Sky as a baby, you can clearly see the light blue cere with white around the nostrils
My budgie Charlie as a baby, the pink cere indicates that he's male and younger than 12 months old

White or brown

A white or brown cere indicates that your budgie is an adult female. At the age of around 12 months, a female budgies cere will take on a creamy white colour. At some point, you might notice her cere getting brown and crusty. This is nothing to worry about. It simply indicates that she’s broody (ready to breed). In the wild, this will most likely happen during the springtime. But in captivity, it may occur during any time of the year. This is because a budgies inner clock is based on the days getting longer or shorter. Once there are more hours of daylight, it means spring is beginning. Inside our houses, because of our artificial suns called ‘lightbulbs’, all days seem to be the same length to your budgie.

My budgie Sky, her brown cere indicates that she is female and broody
Sky's partially white cere indicates that she's an adult female and not (yet) broody

Dark blue or blue

A dark blue or blue cere indicates that your budgie is an adult male. Around the age of 12 months, their baby pink cere will slowly start to turn blue. Just like the females’ cere changes from white to brown with the seasons, a males cere will change as well, although this change is much less obvious. A broody male will have a blue cere, which turns to a darker blue once mating season is over. Like I explained in the paragraph about females’ ceres, budgies in captivity don’t have a specific mating season due to the lack of change in their daylight hours. 

My budgie Charlie, the dark blue cere indicates that he's an adult male
Charlies bright blue cere indicaties that he's an adult male and broody

There are always exeptions...

For some budgies, it’s not as easy, or even impossible to identify their sex by looking at their cere. The best-known example of this is an albino budgie. Due to the lack of colour in their genes, their cere will appear white, even when they are still young. In some other colour mutations, the cere will not be as vibrant of colour as well. If your budgie falls into this category and it’s important to you to know their gender, you can always have a DNA test done by an avian vet. This is also an option if you are still in doubt about your budgies gender after trying to sex them by looking at their cere. A DNA test is always the most reliable option compared to using the colour of their cere to identify their gender.

Hopefully, I was able to help you sex your budgie by writing this article. Now that you know your budgies gender, it might help you choose a name for your little friend, or understand certain gender-specific behaviours.

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How to tell a budgie’s gender/sex

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