Determining a Cockatiel’s Sex
It is important to know whether your cockatiel is a male or female, so you can name it appropriately. Determining the sex of cockatiels can be a challenge for some of the different types of color mutations. Here are some ways to determine whether or not your cockatiel is a male or female.
Before even trying to guess what sex your cockatiel is, you need to determine which color variation your cockatiel has. It is best to do this by writing down the color or colors of its overall body,along with any patterns or markings on the wings and tail. Check to see if it has a bright yellow face and crest as well as a bright orange cheek spot. Once you figure out the color variations of your bird, then the next step is to analyze certain spots and patches on your bird.
If your bird is less than 6 months of age, it is almost impossible to determine sex. Juvenile birds will always look like a mature female until its first molt. The first molt starts to occur at around 6 months of age. After the first molt, it is much easier to determine the sex of your cockatiel. However, one way to determine the sex of your cockatiel before its first molt is to see how it reacts to a mirror. Male cockatiels love mirrors and will admire and bob its head to the bird in the mirror. Rather a female will not get any enjoyment out of the mirror and will likely walk away. Pay attention to whether your bird is vocal or not. It is more common for male cockatiels to sing and whistle to itself or other birds, whereas a female cockatiel only makes several chirps to communicate.
Assuming the bird you are trying to determine sex has already molted, you will need to look for barring and dashes underneath the wings and on the tail. Barring and dashes on a pearl variation cockatiel is normal on male and female, so that is why it is imperative to learn the color variations first. A females head will not be as yellow as a males and the orange spot will be much more muted. Look for softer colors on a female and brighter colors on a male.
If it is absolutely necessary for you to know the sex of your cockatiel for breeding purposes, then you can have a DNA test performed. However, allow your avian vet feel for certain pelvic bones before you opt for a DNA test.