Sexing Cockatiels Visually

With so many mutations, it can be difficult to know what to look for when trying to sex your cockatiel. The following chart tells you what to look for with each color mutation.

Don’t know your bird’s mutation?

Some visual sexing rules:

  • Applies only to birds that have gone through their first molt.
  • Crest length is not accurate.
  • Cheek patch intensity is not accurate.
  • Mutations that cannot be sexed visually should be sexed by behavior

 

Mutation Male Female
Normal, Cinnamon, Fawn Yellow head
No barring on tail.tiel_lefty

 

Looks exactly like juvenile
Head may have a few flecks of yellow
Tail barring remains.melonie3
Pearl Pearls lost or diminished after first molt. Eventually all will be lost, making the bird look like a normal male (see above). Pearls retained throughout entire life.

DSCN4081

Whiteface White head
No barring on tail.ralphie1
Looks exactly like juvenile.
Head may have a few flecks of white.
Tail barring remains.tiel03_wfsplitpied
Yellowface Yellow head
No barring on tail
Looks exactly like juvenile
Head may have a few flecks of yellow
Tail barring remains

The following mutations can only be sexed by behavior:

Pied Cannot be visually sexed, except when combined with pearl mutation.
Lutino Cannot be visually sexed, except when combined with pearl mutation (which even then may be impossible to see).
Albino Cannot be visually sexed at all.

© 1997-2016 by Karen Trinkaus. May not be reprinted or used in any way without the author’s permission.

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