The Difference Between Male & Female Lovebirds

Identifying male and female lovebirds is challenging. For those with lovebirds as pets, this challenge is not much of a problem. However, for those wishing to breed, it can be tricky. In some species, both sexes appear almost identical, with only a few subtle differences noticeable only to people with a trained eye. Certain species can be identified through body language. More accurate ways to determine the sex of your lovebird include a DNA test or taking your lovebird to a professional trained to identify exotic pets.

  1. Types of Species

    • Identifying the sex of your bird will depend greatly upon the species of lovebird to which it belongs. Most pet lovebirds fall in to three categories: dimorphic, intermediate and monomorphic. Dimorphic types (Abyssinia, Madagascar and Red-Faced lovebirds) will have obvious outward differences. Intermediate types (Peach-Faced and Black-collared lovebirds) are difficult to tell apart by their outward appearance. Monomorphic types (Masked, Fischer’s and Black-Cheeked lovebirds) are nearly impossible to sex just by looking at the bird.

    Identification of Sex

    • Most of the time, female lovebirds have larger bodies and are heavier than male lovebirds. A female lovebird will have a wider pelvis, making her look wider and broader than a male. Most often, this will cause her feet to rest farther apart on a perch. Sometimes, female lovebirds will show nesting signs, such as shredding paper, after she is one year old.

      Male lovebirds are often more upright than females. A male lovebird’s tail feathers will appear to be more rounded than females, who have more square tails.


    • Knowing the sex of your lovebird is essential if you plan on breeding. They are easy to breed, according to Avian Web, but you will need to keep breeding pairs in their own cages. The sooner you know which birds are male and female, you can separate them and begin breeding.


    • You can submit a sample of your bird’s blood from a testing kit you can buy from many laboratories. The best way to get a sample of your bird’s blood is by clipping one toenail slightly higher than normal, according to Parrot Parrot. Treat the toenail with styptic powder to avoid excess bleeding when you’re finished.


    • Always handle your bird with care. If you are unsure about the sex of your lovebird and if you are uncertain about how to go about examining the pelvic bone, take your bird to a veterinarian that specializes in exotic pets.

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  • Photo Credit red lovebird on tree image by Alena Yakusheva from

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