Parakeet Palace

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Budgie's Age and Gender

    Here you will learn how to determine your budgie's age and gender. There are a lot of processes including a thorough and sometimes expensive examination from an avian veterinarian, but these are simple and free ways to see what the age and gender of your parakeet is. You should have this information before you adopt your bird but this is a little guide to finding out all about your budgie's age and gender. When you are picking a bird for the first time please ask someone who works there about the age and gender. If the gender is unclear due to young age it might be a bad thing to get more than one. Picking out a budgie for the first (or second, third, etc) time make sure all your information is in a line as well as veterinary care, shelter, etc. Having this information ahead of time will keep you well prepared and less stressed for that new bird. Sometimes it is not a new bird and you just never took the time to look at the exact age and gender here is a little article for new bird owners, current owners, past owners, and everyday visitors. Feel free to comment and correct me if I'm wrong.                         

-Thank you :)

Ways to Determine Age #1

- Check the eyes

    Younger parakeets eye's are all black, but as they age the iris gets lighter and  lighter settling into a light gray or brownish color. Baby budgies always have that signature all black, all cute look. This is probably the look that parakeets at your local pet store will have.

Here are ways to determine the exact to approximate age of your bird! 

  • 4 months - Eyes are completely solid black
  • 4-8 months - Dark gray iris 
  • 8 months - Light grayish or brownish iris

Albino parakeets have reddish pink eyes and there is almost no way to tell how old they are. Do not purchase albino budgie's from pet stores, only purchase from a breeder. Make sure to get a leg band as well so you can see the date of birth. But remember there are exceptions to every rule and make sure that a veterinarian has checked out your bird to be sure.

Black Eyes (0-4 months)

Really Dark Irises (4-6 months)

Medium Brown Irises (6-8 months)

Light Brown Irises (8+ months)

Ways to Determine Age #2

- Less than 3-4 months or above

   Young parakeets usually have bars on their head. Bars are like a stripe pattern in the plumage or feathers. These bars will come down all the way to the cere. The cere is the nose like area above the beak found in some parrots, you will not find a cere on a raven, crow, etc. Bars indicate that the budgie is young. 

    Now after 3-4 months a parakeet will have gone through it's very first molt! This can be very stressful for the bird and the owner. After the big first molt those top feathers on their head will be different, they won't be striped like before. A parakeet that has a yellowish or white cap feathers is older than 4 months.Cap feathers are the feathers in place of where the bar used to be. 

    If pet stores sell babies under 8-12 weeks they are not to be sold. Selling babies that small is very risky and can be illegal in some states. I would recommend always getting budgies over 2-3 months is possible. It's good to get young birds so they can get used to humans early and such but there is a difference between too young and young. So be careful when selecting a bird, age is extremely important. Gathering all this information before heading off and getting a bird is a much better idea. 

    Here are some sample pictures to indicate what a bird will look like with and without cap feathers. As you can see the birds look very alike.

This budgie is a "clear cap" meaning he is over 3-4 months

This guy is a "bar head"meaning is less than 3-4 months old 



    You can determine your bird's gender by checking the cere. The cere is located above the beak, depending on the color you can see if it's male or female. These rules don't apply if the bird is under 1 year of age, because they have not reached maturity. Most pet stores do not have the age of the budgie yet because it is under one year of age but when you do select a bird at random gender make sure that you are ready to quarantine and find out what gender it really is. Gender plays a huge role in breeding, and if your a first time parakeet owner or just NOT a breeder then pairing a female and male can be hazardous.    Also females are more prone to diseases and can lay eggs without a male present. Be very cautious with two birds of unknown gender put together. 

  • Males - blue, purple, bright violet, and pink ceres
  • Females - white, light blue, tan, and brown ceres
(The brown ceres can be flakey, don't freak out this is common in females.)