Can Parrots Change Gender? (Answered!)

As I searched for parrot facts online, I came across a related search question and saw the question asking whether parrots change gender?

I saw reports of other animals being able to change gender.

While my mind wandered from my original search, I thought it would be interesting to investigate, can parrots change gender?

The answer is no; parrots cannot change gender. It is physically impossible for a parrot’s gender to change. If a parrot displays both male and female organs, this is due to a birth defect called hermaphrodite and is very rare.

A parrot hatches male or female and will not change during its lifetime.

It seems there were a lot of questions online about this and owners questioning their parrot’s gender due to a change in traits or appearance.

This article will discuss how to tell a parrot’s gender, why a parrot may show female or male traits and the differences between male and female parrots.

Let’s look into all the answers about parrots and their gender.


Why is my female parrot showing male traits?

This usually is down to hormonal changes in your parrot and commonly happens with age.

A female parrot may develop a male plumage with age due to becoming less fertile.

A female parrot has also been known to develop a change in its feather coloring after producing infertile eggs, again linked to hormonal changes in your parrot.

You may also see a change in your parrot’s behavior when light or temperature changes happen around springtime.

This is a parrot breeding season, and it can be confused with male or female traits.

A captive parrot is likely to become sexually frustrated at this time and demonstrate behaviors such as aggression, screaming, chewing, and plucking of feathers or self-harm.

This wouldn’t happen in the wild as they are free to mate as they wish.


What is the difference between male and female parrots?

Telling the sex of a parrot can be tricky.

Often, it is only known when a parrot lays eggs.

Many parrot species do not have a distinctive difference between the genders; however, there are some markers to look out for that may help you confirm your parrot’s gender.


Laying eggs

This is a good giveaway that your parrot is female.

Only female parrots will produce eggs, and a wild female parrot will lay eggs after having intercourse with a male mate.

A captive female parrot may not lay eggs in its cage.

A parrot needs to be approximately three years of age before producing eggs as they won’t have reached sexual maturity before then.

If a solo parrot is producing eggs, you would need to contact your vet as it can be detrimental to their health.


DNA testing

This will confirm a parrot’s gender.

Many owners will not want to wait years to find out what sex their parrot is, and DNA scientifically proves your parrot’s gender.

Contact your vet to ask about testing and if they provide the service.

You can send off your parrot’s DNA via a loose feather or nail clipping.

There will be explicit instructions to follow when sending off a DNA sample.

To ensure an accurate result, follow the instructions carefully. 


Surgically sexing a parrot

This can be performed by a vet but isn’t common practice now DNA testing is available.

You must not attempt this at home.

Only an experienced veterinarian should carry out this form of testing.

It can cause damage to sexual organs and is only used with an older parrot with an unknown history


Which breeds of parrots can you tell their gender?

African Grey Parrots

African Grey Parrots have some common male and female traits but still not wholly conclusive.

DNA testing is still the best option to confirm gender, but here is a list of features to look out for in the African Grey.

Male African Greys tend to be taller than their female partners.

A male is typically 12-14 inches in height, as females are around 12 inches tall.

A male will tend to have a point eye patch as a female is rounded.

The female African grey will have lighter grey feathers on the body’s underside as males will have darker grey coloring.


Ringneck parrots

Ringneck parrots are one of the easiest to distinguish between male and female.

The male parrot has a dark or brightly colored ring around the neck, as a female has a much lighter or fainter ring.

Their sexual maturity is around three years old, and the distinctive colored ring will not develop before then.

A female ringneck will also tend to have a rounder shape face than a male.


Senegal parrots

Senegal parrots have a 100% foolproof way of confirming their gender.

The male parrot under-tail feathers are nearly always yellow as the female has a mixture of yellow and green.

It is rare to find a male Senegal parrot with any green coloring in its under-tail. 


Eclectus Parrots

Eclectus Parrots are another easy parrot to confirm gender.

The male is always green with vibrant red on its wings and side of the body.

The female is red, blue, or purple.

The male parrot’s beak is also multi-colored and the female’s beak is always black.


Can parrots be both male and female?

It is incredibly rare, and if you do come across a parrot with male and female organs, this is a birth defect called a hermaphrodite.

This can happen with many animals and is seen in humans, but it is a rare disorder.


What are male and female parrots called?

A female parrot is called a hen, and a male parrot is called a cock. It may seem humorous, but it is the correct term.

In general, most birds are referred to as cocks or hens, but you will find species-specific gender terms such as in swans or chickens.


Can female parrots lay eggs without a male?

Wild parrots will lay eggs as a regular seasonal process.

A captive bird will lay eggs, but with the absence of a male, the eggs will be sterile.

Infertile eggs will not hatch even if incubated.

If a captive female parrot is laying eggs without a male parrot present, speak with your vet and discuss how to discourage egg-laying as it can be detrimental to your parrot’s well-being.


Here you have all the facts about parrots’ gender and how to determine a parrot’s sex.

We have discussed how to tell your parrots gender, why a parrot may show signs of the opposite sex and how to tell the gender of specific breeds of parrots.

If you are ever concerned about your parrot’s behavior, mental or physical well-being, always contact a professional vet who can advise you. 

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