How to Tell Male Zebra Finches From Female

Written by debbie tolle
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The zebra finch originated in Australia and is still found throughout Australia today. Zebra finches are social birds and are best kept in pairs. Knowing the difference between male and female zebra finches is based on the bird's markings. It is not until after the finches' first moulting (feather shedding) that you can visually begin to tell the difference between male and female. As the birds mature there will be an obvious difference based on beak, breast, cheeks, throat, flanks and legs.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Look closely at the beak of zebra finches. A male will have a noticeably brighter beak than a female. The colour of a male beak is a deeper red-orange colour than the female. A female beak is more of a pale orange.

  2. 2

    Inspect the breast for obvious differences. The breast of a male zebra finch will have a black breast bar that is not seen on a female zebra finch. The black breast bar extends across the entire breast.

  3. 3

    View the cheeks of the zebra finch. Male zebra finches will have orange patches that are not seen on a female finch. The cheek patches of a young male will be pale until he has fully matured at approximately six months of age.

  4. 4

    Check the throat area for differences. A male zebra finch will have what look like zebra stripes that are black and white. The stripes will be located above the black breast bar and below the beak.

  5. 5

    Look at the bird's flanks. The flanks are on each side of the bird just below the upper portion of the wings. A male zebra finch will have a chestnut-coloured patch with white spots. The female zebra finch will not have flank patches.

  6. 6

    View the legs of zebra finches. The legs and feet of a male zebra finch will have the same deeper red-orange colour than those of the female zebra finch.

Tips and warnings

  • Zebra finches bred in captivity have been mutated to create different colour variations. Some zebra finches can be completely white. It may only be possible to tell a male zebra finch from a female zebra finch by the deeper colour of the beak on the male.

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