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Male or Female Lovebird? How to Identify the Differences

Ashley Bates

If you didn’t get lucky enough to buy a pre-sexed lovebird pair, you might wonder if you really have a lad and lass on your hands. Lucky for you, there are ways to tell the difference at home—though not all are a guarantee. Some birds do require a blood test, but you might be able to tell otherwise.

Let’s look at some visual cues that could point you in the right direction towards deciphering the gender of your birds.

 

divider-birds

1. Dimorphic Species

lovebirds out of the cage
Image Credit: Denis Velicanov, Pixabay

Nine different species of lovebird exist. Three out of the nine species are dimorphic, meaning that the color of their feathers alone tells you whether they are male or female.

Dimorphic lovebirds include Madagascar, red-faced, and Abyssinian lovebirds. Male and female pairs will have drastic color differences, making it impossible to miss.

However, the other six species of lovebirds still require more visual cues to pinpoint the gender precisely.


2. Physical Signs of Gender in Lovebirds

Yellow-collared Lovebirds
Image Credit: Chichkanova Anastasiia, Shutterstock

Although physical signs aren’t always a foolproof method, there are some things to check out. Please note that these signs are only indicators and not certainties.

  • Head Shape: Female lovebirds have a very rounded, proportionate head in comparison to their bodies. Males have blockier, less curved heads than their female counterparts.
  • Ring Size: Female lovebirds generally have larger rings around their eyes than males. This isn’t always a telltale sign since every lovebird is different—but it’s a good start.
  • Beak: Female lovebirds usually have a thicker and broader beak than males. If you compare the two side-by-side, you should be able to tell the difference.
  • Size: In most cases, male lovebirds appear to be larger than their female counterparts. However, that is not true in every case. Avian professionals agree that it could be the stance more so than actual size differentiation.

3. Personality

Red-Faced Lovebirds
Image Credit: Ward Poppe, Shutterstock

Male and female lovebirds tend to be slightly different in terms of personality. Females are a little bit fiery with a saucy, independent attitude. Females also tend to be more territorially aggressive than their male counterparts.

Males are a little bit more affectionate and laid back. They might want to spend time with their humans or snuggle up with you.

This isn’t always the best indicator since every creature is unique with its own particular quirks.


4. DNA Analysis

avian vet. examining lovebird
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

If you genuinely want to know the gender of your lovebird, the only foolproof way of knowing for sure is to opt for DNA analysis. One tiny drop of blood will let you know whether you have a male or female lovebird.

You can buy one of these tests online or consult your local avian veterinarian. The test will take a sample feather or drop of blood, and a lab will determine the results. You can expect to pay between $50 and $150 for a test.

Physical Exams at Home

If you are an experienced bird owner, you might be confident enough to give your lovebird a physical exam to test the width of their pelvis.

However, if you are inexperienced with this method, it can cause harm to your bird—and even death if it’s done incorrectly. Therefore, we can’t recommend this method of sexing your love birds.

We always recommend consulting your veterinarian before anything such as this takes place. Having a professional perform the task is always your best bet.

divider-birdsFinal Thoughts

While there might be signs that point to your love birds being one gender or another, the only surefire way to tone is through DNA. If you need to sort out the details of gender because of pairing or preference, you can try to look for visual clues. However, it might lead you astray.

Never try to sex your lovebird at home if you are inexperienced, as there is way too much room for error. Consult your veterinarian before you try any physical method.

You May Also Like: Cockatiel vs Lovebird: What’s the Difference?


Featured Image Credit: David Havel, Shutterstock

Ashley Bates

Ashley Bates is a freelance dog writer and pet enthusiast who is currently studying the art of animal therapy. A mother to four human children— and 23 furry and feathery kids, too – Ashley volunteers at local shelters, advocates for animal well-being, and rescues every creature she finds. Her mission is to create awareness, education, and entertainment about pets to prevent homelessness. Her specialties are cats and dogs.