Tuesday, May 25, 2010

More on Sexing Bourke Parakeets & a little on Splendids

Just noticed one of my young Bourkes doing a bounce and flair on his perch. He's definitely a male. Not only do male Bourke parakeets put their shoulders back and slightly flair their wings at the shoulders, but if they add a bounce too, that's a clear indication of a male Bourke.  In this photo, the male is at the far left, shoulders back, head up.

Females tend to have darker faces than males, but that's not totally reliable. I have a lovely male with a blue-gray face that's actually darker than some of his daughters. But, the girls will darken up as they mature, or so is the case with my hens. Once they are laying eggs, their facial feathers seem to come in darker than when they were youngsters. 

Other sources say the hens have a flatter head than the males do. Possibly the males flair their head feathers slightly when courting. As youngsters though, this isn't obvious to me, and that's when you want to learn their sex. Once they are mature, their actions will project their sex pretty clearly... That is, unless you have two males and one is dominant... then, you may have trouble telling that the subservient one is male and not female. However, in a mixed aviary where at least one hen is present, the males will "strut" their stuff and show off so that you should be able to identify them pretty easily if you pay attention to their behavior.

Females who are harrassed by too many males are likely to "scold" loudly. They also do this if they don't like the mate you gave them. Then it's time to switch them.

By the way, remember I moved my female Splendids to different males because for two years neither has had fertile eggs? Well, my 5-year-old patriarch was attempting to mate with his new lady. Wish them luck! They've been in the nest box together, but that's no guarantee. His attempts with her were better than with the previous hen ... just hope he's successful. All may depend on how stable she stands through the process. But, at least they're trying ... that's more than was done before with their earlier mates. This hen has never produced before, but the male, Rainbow, is the father of her previous, unsuccessful mate. Rainbow's first mate passed away. He's no youngster, but seems healthy.

Currently, have two Bourke hens on eggs and another asking to breed with her new mate. Should have three raising young soon (I hope!). Have several others who have each raised three clutches recently and are "resting" for a few months. Their boxes are closed or removed.

Have six babies almost ready to sell, only one is still being handfed occasionally. The others are eating on their own. They are so sweet. It's always difficult to part with them.

This photo is of the last six I sold. They are in a travel cage. It's not a cage where any babies live. It's too small. However, a divided cage like this works fine for temporary transportation. The links to Amazon below are for books I've discussed in the past.

Peace & Blessings!

Bourke's Parakeets


neversink7 said...

Hi, just wondering if you have ever had problems with splendid or bourke parents pulling the feathers off of their babies. My 2 pairs of splendids raised their first clutches last fall w/o major problems. This time around, both parents of both pairs have been plucking the feathers of their babies once they were fledged. The worst is the youngest babies, which I've had to pull to handfeed since they are nearly bald over the chest and back now. I'm not sure if it's just they are not wanting to care for these babies anymore or could there be some nutritional issue - I feed them everything good I can find, so not sure what could be missing.

The Splendid Bourke Bird Blog said...

This is interesting. I'll do a blog post with my opinion.

Jamielynn said...

I had this problem once. Vitamin D and/or iodine in the diet really helps. FYI - vitamin D comes naturally from sunlight. Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

Hello from Arizona (originally Western Washington)! I have two Rosy Bourkes and wonder if they are male and female. The one I suspect is a male regurgitates and feeds the other at least twice a day. This feeding is never reciprocated. There are other behaviors - mostly vocalizations - that make me suspect my two are a pair. Do you find that regurgitating feeding behavior indicates a male/female bond? Thanks! I'm loving your blog.

Anonymous said...

I found the answer to my question regarding my two Bourkes and regurgitation feeding in further reading on your blog. I'm going to provide my birds with a nest box in the hopes I have a male/female pair, not two males. They're lovely, tame birds so I won't be too disappointed if we have no chicks, but I'd sure love it if they could replace themselves before old age takes them from me.
Thanks for all the great information! (and beautiful photos)

G. A. Lewis said...

Hello Arizona/Washington,
Thank you for the kind words. Glad you found your answers even before I got back to you. Best of luck raising your beautiful birds. Bourkes are very sweet. Peace & Blessings, Gail

Anonymous said...

Hello. I have just got my baby Bourke's. Both are expected to be female. One pink with some yellow on the wings and the other has pink with hints of grey on chest, mostly pink head and pink on back. Would the second one grow up a normal with a lot more grey or stay pink? Your post didn't say what kind they were but the one in question looks a bit like the middle one in the first picture, but the pink softer.

Marree said...

Is there any way of telling the gender when the bourke is on it's own?
For example, I know that the boys also tend to be grey, (In my experience, I've also had a couple of light boys and grey girls). The boys are more likely to imitate your ring tone, say hello, or spend a lot on time playing with mirrors, than a female would. (again, this can vary, I never find out definitively until breeding season, and I have been proven wrong when one of my girls turned out to be a boy. Thankfully, Cockatiel boys don't fight so much if there's more than one girl)
Are there tricks like that to tell the gender of my new little Bourke? I've had him for a few months now, and he should be having his first molt any day now. (I was told about March to June by his/her breeder)
I've had budgies before, but I'm scared to compare them.
I've been breading cockatiels for years, and we've just started with other birds. We've already raised a group of Rosellas, one of which we still have (Sold the rest) and have managed to identify as a girl once she reached maturity, by the spots on her wings. But this is the first, and only bourke we have.
i'm not planning on getting a mate or anything, he/she seems happy enough with our cocatiels, so I won't ever be able to compare.
If any one can give me some tips to look out for, it would be greatly appreciated.

Gail (aka Rosie Bird) said...

Marree, On an older post like this one, I don't always see the question. Best to send it directly to rosie.birds@gmail.com In answer, if your bird is a Normal (wild-color) Bourke, males have a tiny blue line of feathers above the cere (nostrils) of the bird once they mature. Females don't have that. However, it is only on Normal colored Bourkes. Rosies have to either display to show their sex, as mentioned in this article, or they must be DNA'd. I send my samples to Health Gene in Canada. They send free kits with an explanation of what they need. I probably should do a post on DNAing a bird to get a sample, giving the procedure I use. There is more than one method.