How to tell the gender of lovebirds ( Sex Determination)

Last Updated on December 23, 2023 by Ali Shahid

How to tell the gender of lovebirds

Love birds, as the name indicate, are birds who certainly need love more than any other bird species. They need a partner to interact with, and they cannot live on their own for very long. To choose a pair of birds, you must know how to tell the gender of the lovebirds. 

The answer is simple, get a DNA test report which is the most reliable way. However, there are several other methods to solve the gender mystery of love birds. I will tell you about all the possible ways you can use to find the gender of the love bird. So, give it a read till the end.

There are several methods to identify the gender of birds. Gender identification is an easy task in sexually dimorphic species in which male and female birds have apparent differences.

However, in monomorphic species, it is not easy. Therefore, our researchers have developed many easy ways to find the gender of monomorphic birds. These methods are cross-checked by using analyses like acoustic and spectrographic research.

How to tell the gender of lovebirds

Sexing in Dimorphic Lovebirds:

Based on Veterinarian experience, this method is the most accurate in dimorphic species. The difference in plumage colors has a genetic basis in birds.

However, it is not applicable if the birds are monomorphic or have the same plumage color in both males and females. These species are easier to differentiate and breed.

Out of 9 species of love birds, 3 are dimorphic. These species include Madagascar greyheads, red-faced, and Abyssinian lovebirds. In the Madagascar grey-headed love birds, male birds have distinctive grey heads.

However, female birds have green heads. In red-faced love birds, the male faces are red, while the females have orange faces. In Abyssinian species, males have bright red foreheads and rings around their eyes. The females do not have any red color on their faces.

Sexing in Monomorphic Lovebirds:

There are six more species of essentially monomorphic love birds. These species include Yellow-collared lovebirds, black collared love birds, Fischer’s lovebirds, Lillian’s lovebirds, Black-cheeked lovebirds, and peach-faced lovebirds.

Due to the same plumage color in males and females, it can be mystifying to differentiate them. However, sit back and relax because I will guide you about all the possible ways you can use to make a pair by identifying the gender of your lovebirds.

Pelvic sexing:

According to recent studies, it is the most reliable household method how to tell the gender of love birds. The basis of this method lies in anatomy. In this method, you determine the distance between the two pelvic bones of your bird.

Female birds have wider pelvic bones to ease the passage of eggs through the pelvic canal. However, males do not need this space.

To find this distance hold the bird in your palm. Face the bird toward you with its head between your index and middle finger. Keep the head fixed because these birds can bite you.

Feel the pelvic bone with your finger a little under the belly of the bird and near its tail. When you find the two bulges, measure the distance between them and find out the gender of the bird.

Vent sexing:

Some people consider that vent sexing is the same as pelvic sexing. However, these two are completely different things. Vent sexing is a more delicate method and must be done by a veterinarian only.

This method works by manipulating the genital area or vent of the bird to observe the sex organs of the bird. Males and females have different genitalia. Observing the genitalia directly, a Vet can tell you about the gender of the bird.

Physical Traits:

Love birds can have different physical appearances. However, this method is not very reliable in how to tell the gender of love birds. Some common physical traits are head size, beak, ring size, body mass, etc.

Head size:

The lovebird males have broader heads. Their heads are less curved as compared to female love birds. The female birds have round and curved head shapes.

Ring Size:

The love birds, like other birds, have round rings around their eyes. The eye-ring is cartilaginous with different colors in different birds

. The female love birds have large eye rings compared to the male birds. The around-eye ring size is not a very reliable method of gender identification. However, this method can sometimes help how to tell the gender of lovebirds.  

Beak Shape:

The male birds have broad thicker beaks. However, female birds have thin beaks. The female birds have thin beaks. This method can give a clue. Yet, this method does not accurately tell the gender of lovebirds. But it is helpful if you compare the male and female birds simultaneously.

Body Mass:

The males are generally larger and have more body mass than females. The female birds are smaller in size. However, our recent research shows that this is not true in all cases. The body size can vary according to age and many environmental factors.   


This method of sexing can take a little bit longer. It is based on the behavior of the birds driven by hormones. Many Ornithologists and veterinarians’ experiences have developed this reliable method of bird sexing.

The female birds show nesting and guarding behaviors. The female lovebirds grate the papers and try to make nests in hidden places.

On the other hand, the male birds behave as providers and caretakers of the group. Therefore, they appear to be more active. Males are also likely to be aggressive and territorial.    

Get your lovebird surgically sexed 

The procedure involves putting the bird under anesthesia, making a small incision in its abdomen, and examining its reproductive organs. For pet birds, this type of procedure is not recommended as it requires the use of invasive techniques.

Rather, it is mainly used by bird breeders. A surgical sexing procedure is usually more cost-effective than a DNA sexing procedure.

However, surgery carries a number of downsides, including the risk of illness and death. In most cases, after a bird has been surgically sexed, it is tattooed to permanently identify its gender.

DNA testing:

It is so far, the most reliable method of sexing birds. You can send the DNA sample of your bird to a lab. In labs, they will do polymerase chain reactions to identify the sex of lovebirds as reported by recent studies.

Common Mistakes to Avoid While Sexing Your Lovebird

  • Find out if your lovebird has unique sex characteristics

In most cases, it is impossible to identify the gender of a lovebird from a visual examination. In fact, the peach-faced lovebird, which is the most commonly kept as a pet, requires DNA testing in order to determine its gender.

According to some, female lovebirds are typically smaller than male lovebirds. There are only a few breeds of lovebirds that exhibit this characteristic.

There is also a belief that the feet of a female lovebird are spaced farther apart than those of a male lovebird. The reason for this is based on the assumption that a female’s pelvis is wider than a male’s.

According to the species, this varies. Most types of lovebirds do not differ in their coloring based on their gender. One exception is the Madagascar lovebird. Male Madagascar lovebirds have gray heads, while females have solid green heads.

  • Don’t rely on nest-building and paper shredding

In general, male and female lovebirds tend to shred paper when they are interested in mating. For example, Fischer’s and peach-faced lovebirds behave similarly regardless of sex.

Females are often cited as being better at shredding paper, but this seems like a difficult way to discern gender. Some studies suggest that female birds tend to tuck papers into their tail feathers.

  • A bonded couple isn’t necessarily male and female

When kept together, lovebirds tend to form an intense bond. The sex of the birds does not matter. The birds will become one unit if they are kept together. In a number of studies, bonded pairs of the same sex have been observed building nests together.


  1. How to tell the gender of Lutino love birds?

The Lutino love birds are sub-breeds of peach-faced love birds. They are no different than other love birds. You can use any of the above-explained ways to find the gender.

2. Is behavioral sexing a reliable method?

Behavioral sexing is a good but not always reliable method. Many factors can change the behavior of the birds under some conditions. Females can also be aggressive and territorial. However, eggs are only laid by females. You may need long-term observation to tell the gender of lobe birds by this method.

Final Verdict:

The best way how to tell the gender of love birds is using DNA testing, which is the most reliable and effortless way.

If you want to pair up your birds before the mating season ends, the best method to go for is DNA testing. However, if you have ample time to spend with your birds, you can observe the visual difference between male and female birds.     


  • Ali Shahid

    Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.

    View all posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *