African Grey Parrot Male or Female? (Determine Gender of African Grey)

African grey parrots, endemic to 23 central African countries, possess a reputation for being the smartest of all parrots. Since African grey males and females look quite similar, it’s important to confirm the sex of any bird that will become part of a breeding pair.

Determine Gender of African Grey Parrots:

Some owners and breeders of African greys say it’s easy to discern the subtle differences between males and females once they reach an age of 18 months or more, or after their first molt. A male African grey’s tail will remain solid red, while a female’s red tail feathers become tipped with silver. The undersides of a male’s wings become dark, while a female’s remain light. Other subtle differences between the male and female African grey include a more slender neck and narrower head in the female, and a rounded eye patch. The male eye patch becomes somewhat pointed behind the eye.

There are slight differences in body type and size between males and females. First consider your bird’s general body type to get a gauge of whether your bird is more likely male or female. From there, you can look at more subtle physical characteristics.[1] Males are usually 12-14 inches (30-35.5 cm) in height. Hens are generally somewhat shorter than this.[2] The body of a male African Grey is somewhat round, while females tend to be more slender. Males heads tend to be small and flat, and their necks are shorter. Females tend to have longer necks, with larger, rounder heads.

Examine coloration. Males typically have a darker and more uniform color than hens. Females, on the other hand, have a gradual light-to-dark coloration from their neck to their belly.[3] This technique should only be considered in birds older than 18 months. A chick’s feathers are still growing, so the color will change with age.

Examine tail feathers. Traditionally, male Greys have darker tail feather colors than hens. You need to check what are called the “ventral feathers.” These are a set of about 10 feathers found directly under the bird’s tail. You can pick up your African Grey and gently flip him or her over to examine the feathers.[4] Females will have ventral feathers that are edged in a shade of gray. Males will have ventral feathers that are solid red. There may be a small white hairline on male feathers. Keep in mind, this test is not accurate for young parrots. You cannot rely on tail feathers to determine sex unless your grey is 18 months of age or older.

Generally, there are no reliable external sex differences. Experienced breeders may recognize subtle size and color variations between the sexes of their own breeding birds, but this is very subjective and not a reliable way to determine gender.

In short words, if you are still curious to know about your grey, below are the most common six signs which may help you to determine the gender of your grey parrot by the appearance;

Male African Grey ParrotFemale African Grey Parrot
 1- Male African Grey Parrots are usually larger. They are almost 12-14 inches in height. 1- Female African Grey Parrots are usually smaller and their height is less than 12-14 inches.
 2- Male African Grey Parrots have smaller neck than female. Their head is small and flattered. 2- Female African Grey Parrots have longer neck. They have larger and rounded head.
 3- The body of male African grey parrot is somewhat rounded. 3- The body of female African Grey Parrot is elliptical and slender.
 4- The tail feathers of the male African Grey Parrot will be fully red in color. 4- The female African Grey parrot’s tail feathers are also red, but they will possess silver hues.
 5- The underside of feathers the Male African Grey Parrots will be dark Gray. 5- The underside of feathers the Female African Grey Parrots will be light Gray.
 6- Male African Grey parrots have eye patches that have pointed ends. 6- Female African Grey parrots have eye patches that are rounded.

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. I won’t have to type so much if we take a look at these examples.

As per the below image under-wing shades of Grey: It is often best to “see” the different shades of gray by doing just a quick glance. Try doing this while standing 5 to 10 feet away from the bird, while the bird is on top of its cage or play stand, just flapping its wings. If you study, or stare too hard at the under-wing, it is easy to second-guess yourself, and see three shades of gray. In males it should appear to be two shades of gray. In females there should appear to be three shades.

As per the below image under tail coverts: By far the quickest and most popular method for visual sexing is looking at the under-tail coverts. The amount of gray edging can vary widely, with some birds having almost no gray edging at all. In that event, use some of the other methods listed below. When using this method, there are generally 10 feathers that make up the “V” shape under the tail. The individual feathers in this grouping will be solid red on the males. They’ll be edged in gray on females. This does NOT work on babies.

As per the below image tail length of grey: This is an easy one. Male wings fall short of the tail tip, while female’s wing tips will normally touch or fall a bit beyond the tip of the tail.

As per the below image, from feathers to coverts: While standing away from the bird and looking at the side of the bird, notice the dark primary feathers in relation to the primary coverts. In males the contrast is blended or smudgy-looking. In hens there is a more obvious contrast where the primary coverts overlap the primary flight feathers.

As per the below image, front wing, closed contrast: This one is a bit harder than the others. While the African grey is perched, facing you, there is a sliver of feathers peeking out from under the wing. In males this sliver of feathers is blended. In females the contrast is more obvious. Can sometimes work with babies.

Physically, we can not be 100% sure to determine sex, although there are some characteristics that tend differ slightly between males and females. You should contact an avian veterinarian or have a DNA test conducted if you want a definitive answer. This is the only way to be certain of the sex of your African Grey parrot.

Although it’s not very easy to distinguish between male and female African grey parrots but you can still try to differ between them after reading these 6 differences. The best way to determine the sex of the bird is DNA Sexing.

Stay safe and much love !


Leave a Comment