Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sexing Bourkes

You may already know how to sex normal Bourkes (those with brown backs). Adult males grow a narrow row of blue feathers above their cere (nose/nostrils). Females don't have that line of blue, and typically neither do Rosies.

Sexing Rosies or young birds is more difficult. I'm not a vet and can't peer inside the birds, or do a DNA sample. But, watching the birds will often give a clue as to their sex. Males tend to strut their stuff by throwing their shoulders back and slightly flairing their wings at the shoulder. This is an obvious clue that they are male. Sometimes youngsters will start to do this almost as soon as they are weaned (eating on their own).

Another clue is if they attempt to "feed" a sibling. When this occurs, the one doing the feeding is likely male. Very young birds can be seen "practicing" this behavior. Don't, however, mistake this for when they are trying to steal food from each other's mouths!

Male Bourkes feed their hen during courtship and when she's on eggs. As soon as young leave the nest, father Bourkes take over most of their feeding. So, male feeding comes naturally to them, even at a young age.

As for identifying very young hens, that's not as easy. All you can do is say, "well, I don't see any male behavior, so this is probably a hen."  You have a 50/50 chance of being right!  

Peace & Bird Blessings.

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