Visual Sex Determination
of Senegal Parrots
In collaboration with Rex Sheasby,
African Parrot Society, 1999-2003
Mature Senegal parrots can usually be sexed by careful examination of the under-tail (ventral) coverts. Successfully doing so requires an understanding of what to look for, and where. The pictures to the right illustrate the three color patterns encountered.
The top photograph shows an adult male Senegal with the typical pure yellow under-tail coverts. Mature males with even a hint of green in these feathers are quite rare. Mature Senegal parrots can usually be sexed by careful examination of the under-tail (ventral) coverts.
The middle photo shows an adult female Senegal with a mixture of green and yellow in the under-tail coverts. Even the slightest trace of green in these feathers indicates a female. It may be necessary to hold the bird upside down in a good light in these cases.
The bottom photograph shows an adult female Senegal with mostly green under-tail coverts. Immature Senegals also have this appearance. Mature male Senegals almost always have pure yellow under-tail coverts.
Mature female Senegals usually have at least some green in the under-tail coverts, but the amount may be so slight that the loss of a single feather can make a female appear pure yellow. This means that there are a few females with the male color pattern.
Visual sexing is not 100% reliable, but no sexing method short of babies in the nestbox is 100% reliable. Even DNA sexing has been known to fail.
Isabel Taylor was told about the color differences in under-tail coverts by an unnamed breeder. She wrote about it in the newsletter of the Smoky Mountain Cage Bird Society, but we have been unable to obtain a copy. Rex mentioned visually sexing Senegals in an article ("Senegal Topics") in the Dec. 1991 issue of Bird World.