Practical Pet Pages
|Also Covers: - HEALTH WORRIES to do with Ceres|
Determining the sex of a budgie is something readers have asked me for help with. It is a little disconcerting not to know whether your pet is male or female. I have also been contacted by people worried about their bird's cere.
With adult budgies of most colours it is easy to tell male and female apart by the colour and texture of the cere which is the bit around the nostrils, above the beak. In the case of red-eyed budgerigars, and some other 'blond' varieties, sexing is more difficult, but always possible.
Hen (female) Budgies
Cock (male) Budgies
Health and Hen's Ceres
Some hens' ceres thicken into sort of mini horns at the corners, or stick out like a tiny shelf!! While some people regard this as a problem, (and there is a technical term for it), some hens of mine have worn these extra-thick ceres most of their lives, and have had no trouble with them at all. They do not indicate advanced age -- as some have speculated. PHOTO'S: (upper two) Two healthy hens with thickened ceres; one in her prime, one elderly.
The ceres of run-down hens can lose all their brown, revealing the white under layer. Even this white may be partly lost, showing the pale blue, base colour. If this happens, enrich the diet daily with hard boiled egg or other good protein, dark greens and a bird vitamin supplement, and have your bird examined by an avian (bird) vet. PHOTO'S: (lower two) Most of the brown has peeled from the cere on the left, while even white is being lost from the cere on the right. -- This really is a hen bird: compare the shape and colour with the cocks' ceres above.
Note: Tatty beak? -- Budgerigars of both sexes can get an infestation called beak mite or scaly face. This causes messy deposits on and around the cere and beak, and can also affect the eyes and feet. Under a magnifier, tiny holes can be seen in the beak -- like miniature woodworm. This condition needs urgent treatment, so once again, take such a bird to the vet.
Health and Cocks' Ceres
Other Indicators Of Sex
Many thanks to Linda of Falls Church, Virginia, and to Gaby of
Birds Online who generously provided extra photo's to illustrate this page.