by Carol Highfill
Visually sexing cockatoos is not the easiest of tasks. In the case of the Black Cockatoo species, sex determination is relatively simple and accurate. Black Cockatoo males have black beaks while the females' beaks are white or horn-colored.
However, visual sexing of the lighter colored cockatoos is not as accurate. These birds fall into two groups (see table below). The larger species can often be sexed based upon the color of the birds' eyes. In these species, males have black or dark brown irises and females have lighter brown, reddish brown or burgandy colored irises. Females develop their eye color as they mature, so a bird may be 3 to 4 years old before this technique can be applied. Sexing by eye color works much of the time, but it is not completely accurate. Even experts have mistaken a dark eyed female or a lighter eyed male for the opposite sex.
The smaller cockatoo species such as the Goffins, Ducorps, Bare Eyed and Slender Billed are almost impossible to sex visually. Many people have tried judging the sex of these species by examining the color of the eyes. However, it has been found that the eye color seems to vary by individual rather than by sex.
If it is necesarry to know the sex of a bird, then DNA or surgical sexing is the best route. DNA sexing will work with both adult and immature birds. Of course, for those with more patience, they can also wait to see if their bird lays an egg.
Sexing Cockatoos Species Method Bare Eyed (Little Corella) Female is smaller, unfeathered area around the eye is shorter. DNA or Surgically sex Blue Eyed Eyes Male: brown, Female: reddish brown Ducorps None - DNA or Surgically sex Gang Gang Male: Some of the lower abdomen feathers are barred with orange, white and red. Females: This area is a duller orange and the white has a greenish caste. The red on the head is missing. Glossy Black Males: Black beak. Slightly smaller. Brown on the head. Females: White horn colored beak. No spots or bars on the body feathers. Babies: Like females until mature at about 4 years. Goffins None - DNA or Surgically sex Greater Sulphur Crested Eyes Male: darkbrown/black, Female: reddish brown, deep burgundy Leadbeaters (Major Mitchell's) Eyes Male: dark brown, Female: pinkinsh red Lessor Sulphur Crested Eyes Male: darkbrown/black, Female: reddish brown to burgundy red (when mature, about 3 yrs) Moluccan (Salmon Crested) Eyes Male: darkbrown/black, Female: deep brown to burgundy red (when mature). A small flashlight helps in determining eye color. Palm None - DNA or Surgically sex Red Tailed Black (Banks) Males: Black beak. Dull gloss on black upper parts. Chest feathers greyish tipped. Deep red tail. Females: Horn colored beak. Yellow spots on upper parts. Yellowish barring on chest. Tail has an orange red bar mixed with yellow. Babies: Like females until mature at about 4 years. Red Vented (Phillipine) Eyes Male: dark brown, Female: reddish brown Rose Breasted (Galah) Eyes Male: dark brown to black, Female: reddish brown Slender Billed None - DNA or Surgically sex Umbrella (White) Eyes Male: black, Female: brown, Babies eyes are a greyish brown Yellow Tailed Black (Funereal) Males: Black beak. Females: White horn colored beak. Lighter in color. Greater color variations. Slightly smaller. Yellow markings are more pronounced. Babies: Like females until mature at about 4 years. White Tailed Black (Baudin's) Males: Black beak. Females: White horn colored beak. Lighter in color. Greater color variations. Slightly smaller. Yellow markings are more pronounced. Babies: Like females until mature at about 4 years.
Parrots and Related Birds by Henry Bates and Robert Busenbark
Online Book of Parrots
Cockatoos by Warner and Susanne Lantermann
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