How to Determine the Sex of a Senegal Parrot

male and female iv image by Hao Wang from

The pretty and compact Senegal parrot is native to western Africa. They are colourful birds with grey heads, bright green bodies and yellow abdomens. Captive Senegal parrots live 20 to 30 years and reach about 10 inches from beak to tail.

They may keep up a stream of chatter interspersed with screeches and whistles, but they are considered one of the quieter members of the parrot family. Determining the sex of a Senegal parrot is not an exact science. DNA tests are the most reliable but a visual inspection of the bird may reveal the sex.

Take the parrot out of its cage and move into an area of bright light. Use white light when possible. White light shows colours in their purest forms.

The abdomen of the Senegal parrot is covered with a "vest" of yellow feathers. The bottom of the vest is V shaped. Notice the position of the yellow vest on the bird. The vest usually extends midway down the abdomen of the male bird. The vest usually extends much farther down the abdomen of the female bird. The V shaped end of the vest may terminate between the legs of the female bird. Make a tentative determination based on the yellow vest.

Examine the bird's head. The male bird generally has a flat, large head and wide beak. The female bird may have a small, thin beak and narrow head. Make a note whether this bird fits the male or female head and beak characteristics.

Turn the bird on its back and examine the short, fine feathers under the tail feathers called "covert" feathers. These feathers will be pure yellow in the adult male with no trace of green feathers. The female bird and juvenile male birds will have primarily green feathers mixed with some yellow feathers. The presence of green covert feathers signals a female or juvenile male.

Take all the visual evidence together and make a tentative determination. Put more importance on the colour of the covert feathers than on the other traits. Birds tentatively determined to be male should be checked again for green covert feathers at later date. It is possible the bird will shed these green feathers when moulting.