How to Tell Between Male & Female Doves

Updated April 17, 2017

Determining the sex of a dove can be confusing. Doves typically have both physical and behavioural indicators of their gender. However, some of these traits belong to both sexes, making sex identification difficult. If you cannot determine the gender of your dove, consult a veterinarian about DNA testing, endoscopy or surgical probing, suggests. However, if you don't mind the possibility that your findings could be incorrect, try a few techniques to determine whether your dove is a male or female.

Observe the size of the doves. Typically, a male dove is larger than a female. The International Dove Society says female doves typically weigh about 160g, or about 142gr., while the male weighs 180g, or about 170gr. Male doves often have more square heads than females. If the doves look the same, you may have a same-sex pair.

Watch for one dove to stick its beak inside the other dove's mouth. If this occurs, it is probably the female sticking her beak inside the male's mouth, according to Dr. Wilmer J. Miller on the website The female is essentially that the male feed her.

Look for a dove to crouch. Females will crouch down, tuck their heads in and raise their shoulders to prepare for mating. A male will then crane his neck above the female and mount her.

Observe your dove for the "bow-coo" behaviour. Typically, when males and females are together, only the male will perform this behaviour. However, when females are placed together without males, they may also act in this way. The dove will coo very quickly while bowing toward the other dove.

Watch for behaviour called "displaying." A male will "display" to the female by inflating his neck and chest and fanning his tail to show his markings. He is attempting to attract her.

Observe the cage for eggs. According to the International Dove Society, two females who are together will typically lay four non-fertile eggs. A male-female combination will lay two fertile eggs.

Hold the dove upright in your hand. With your index finger, touch the dove's pelvic bone. This is located between the dove's legs.

Examine the area, and attempt to feel the bones. You should be able to detect two bones.

Note how the bones feel. In most males, the bones are stiff and pointed and almost touch each-other, according to the International Dove Society. In females, the bones are more curvy and rounded and you almost can fit your finger between the bones. However, male doves often have the same pelvic bone composition as females, making gender determination difficult.

Observe the dove's cage for an egg. If the dove has laid an egg, it is a female.

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