Most bird owners like to know whether their budgies are female or male. Telling an adult
budgie's sex is quite simple in most cases. Depending on their colour and mutation and of course
depending on their current hormonal balance and current health status telling the sex can
be more difficult in some individuals.
In general one can tell the sex of a budgie by having a look at the colour of the nose
which is called cere. Healthy adult birds show typical cere colours which depend on their sexes.
female Budgies in the breeding mood
Healthy, adult female Budgies have a brownish cere. If a female budgie (hen) is in the
breeding mood the cere becomes more or less crusted and partly thickened.
female Budgies not in the breeding mood
In case the cere is coloured light brown the hen currently is just in a very slight
breeding mood. With light blue colouring of the cere the hen isn't in the breeding mood
at all. If an adult female budgie is fights a serious illness the cere might turn
whitish to light blue, see photo on the right. After they have recovered from the illness,
the brownish colour returns within a few weeks.
Also female Budgies with a disturbed hormonal balance show light blue ceres
for a longer period (months)! Often a dysfunction of an internal organ is the cause of
a disturbed hormone release. The photo on the right shows a female budgie who suffered from
a kidney disease which caused the described hormonal deficiency.
Male budgies in the breeding mood
Male budgies (cocks) have a more or less bluish cere. The intensity of the colouring depends
on their actual health status and of course on their current hormonal balance. Compared to the
female Budgies, cocks do not show a wide range of distinct shades of blue when they are in
different stages of the breeding mood. There ceres are always coloured in a bright blue.
Male budgies not in the breeding mood
If a male budgie is not in the breeding mood some light blue to brownish ranges show up
on the cere.
In some cases the cere of a male budgie who is not in the breeding
mood turns yellowish to greenish in the area around the nares, see photo on the right.
I didn't find any explanation of this phenomenon in the literature or on the internet so far.
Maybe it is a symptom of an illness.
Male budgies who are ill
As a sign of a disturbance of the hormone release which can for example be caused by a
testicle tumour, the cere of a male budgie discolours brownish. But not in each case a
brownish cere of a male budgie means that the bird suffers from a testicle tumour. Brownish ceres of
cocks are more smoothly than the ceres of female Budgies who are in the breeding mood
Examples for disturbance of the hormone release not caused by a testicle tumour:
Examples for disturbance of the hormone release caused by a testicle tumour:
Difficult cases depending on the colour and mutation
Budgies who show some special colours and mutations don't show their sex in they way described
above. Examples for these difficult mutations are albino, lutino or fallow budgies .
Also some pieds derive from the above mentioned rules. Especially the male birds are hard
to recognise in these cases. There ceres often are coloured light pink to bluish pink and
sometimes even whitish.
Examples for these difficult mutations (all shown birds are males):
Telling an immature budgie's sex is not easy for a layman. The ceres of both sexes look
very similar at the first view. But if you have a closer look you will find subtle distinctions.
Young male budgies have a rose or bluish-purple cere. Around the nares there are white
rings in female birds which can hardly be seen, the rest of the cere is coloured whitish-blue. The following
photos show young budgies. On the left you can see a female bird, on the right a male one.
Young female budgie Young
Chapitre en français: Comment déterminer le sexe d'une Perruche Ondulée?