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Male vs Female Parakeet: Vet-Reviewed Differences

Sarah Psaradelis

By Sarah Psaradelis

Male vs Female Parakeet

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Dr. Ashley Darby Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Ashley Darby

Veterinarian, BVSc

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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This article has been reviewed for factual accuracy by a qualified veterinarian. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the veterinarian.

Parakeet budgerigars, (Melopsittacus undulates), otherwise known as budgies, are some of the most popular pet birds in the world and one of the smallest species of the parrot family. They are found in a range of colors with unique personalities. People often choose budgerigar parakeets as first-time pet birds because of their docile temperaments and relatively undemanding care requirements compared to some larger parrots. Technically parakeets are a group of different species of birds that are small to medium in size with long tapering tails. In the USA however, it is common to refer to budgies as parakeets and use the term interchangeably, this is not the case in other parts of the world. For clarity in this article we are discussing the differences between male and female budgies only.

If you are looking to get a pet parakeet, you are probably wondering about the differences between the sexes. Although male and female parakeets are relatively similar, there are a few differences worth considering.

This article will discuss the differences between male and female parakeets, so keep reading to find out more.

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Visual Differences

Male vs Female Parakeet side by side
Image Credit: (L) David James Chatterton, Shutterstock | (R) Jrs Jahangeer, Shutterstock

At a Glance

Male Parakeet
  • Average height (adult): 32 cm
  • Average weight (adult): 2-1.3 ounces
  • Lifespan: 8-15+ years
  • Sociability: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: No
Female Parakeet
  • Average height (adult): 86 cm
  • Average weight (adult): 3-1.4 ounces
  • Lifespan: 8-15+ years
  • Sociability: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: No

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Male vs Female Parakeet Appearance

Parakeets are sexually dimorphic. This means that male and female parakeets can be told apart by their appearance. Male parakeets are usually slightly taller, but the females weigh slightly more.

Another distinctive difference between male and female parakeets is the cere located above their beak. Male parakeets typically have a bluish-purple hued cere, which darkens as they age. In females the cere is white, but turns brown with age and hormonal changes.

Other than these notable features, males and females are morphologically exactly the same.

couple of Parakeet birds perched on a branch
Image Credit: Fernando Calmon, Shutterstock

Male vs Female Parakeet Behavior

The personality of a parakeet has more to do with the individual bird itself rather than its sex. Male parakeets are more likely to mimic words and phrases. Anecdotally the males are more active and social with humans while the females can appear more reserved. The head bobbing behavior, more common in males, can be territorial or for courtship. Although very social, both male and female parakeets can sometimes be territorial, to guard their mate or offspring.

couple of parakeets perched on a branch
Image Credit: I Wayan Sumatika, Shutterstock

Male vs Female Parakeet Health Concerns

Both male and female parakeets suffer with nutritional diseases such as obesity, hypovitaminosis A and fatty liver disease when fed an inappropriate seed-based diet. Other infectious and environmental diseases can also occur.

Budgerigars are prone to testicular tumors, more so than other birds. Male parakeets can also get a specific type of testicular tumor, called a sustentacular cell tumor. This causes the blue cere to turn brown due to hormonal influences. Females have the risk of becoming egg-bound (dystocia) which male parakeets do not experience. A female parakeet that is egg-bound will struggle to lay an egg as normal, which could become serious without prompt treatment. Egg-laying female parakeets may also be at risk of nutritional deficiencies. Furthermore, female parakeets could get ovarian, egg duct and uterine diseases.

If your parakeet is showing signs of poor health, regardless of their sex, you will need to contact an avian veterinarian for a checkup.

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Which Sex Is Right for You?

Both sexes of parakeets make great pets for beginners who want colorful and friendly birds. The most distinctive differences between them would be their appearance, reproductive health issues, and breeding behaviors.

Keep in mind that there is no guarantee on what type of personality your parakeet will have, regardless of their sex. However, the potential differences between them are usually a defining factor for some people when choosing between male and female parakeets, but now that you know the differences in their appearance, you can ensure you are getting the sex of your choice.

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Featured Image Credit: (L) David Steele, Shutterstock | (R) Martin Mecnarowski, Shutterstock

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