Determining the Sex of Your Gouldian

This page is used with permission by Pascal H and can be found on his website. Click here to visit his website.


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We were going to develop a page on determining the sex of your Gouldian Finch when mom ran across this well done page and decided to ask if we could cross publish it on our site. Why recreate the wheel? On this page are links to the website of the individual who designed this information. Please feel free to visit and see the great pictures!


Sexing Gouldians:

(14 clues for successfully sexing your birds)


It is understandable why some people find it hard to sex their Gouldians, especially with all the mutations that tend to complicate the matter.

With experience, you will be able to tell the mister from the misses in just a glance, but for now, just as I first did, the most reliable way to go is by following some pointers. With these simple clues, you will not fail, unless you have a poorly colored male or a really well marked female and that is not very common.

It is very important to know that only the Gouldian males sing, so if your bird is "Pavarotting", then  forget about reading the rest of this article cause you got a boy, but if it doesn't sing, the bird is not necessarily a female...

Naturally only the female would lay eggs and this is also a consistent proof of the sex of your bird.

This leads us to the first two clues:

Clue #1- If your bird is singing = Male
Clue #2- If your bird lays eggs= Female


Green-backed and blue-backed females have another trait that distinguishes them from the males: their beak turns black in the breeding season. Only mature females that had undergone the juvenile molt can qualify for this method because juveniles of both sexes have dark beaks, so:

Clue #3- A mature colored bird with a dark beak= Female


1- Head color:

In red and yellow headed birds, you'll find that the males have a rich deep pure color, while females tend to have a dimmer colored head and black specs within the colored head feathers, especially around the beak, near the eyes and on the mask edges.

Red head male:

A very pure color all over the head

Red head female:

Darker red with more black around and within the colored mask.

Picture gracefully supplied
by my friend Paul from:

My Gouldian Aviary


Yellow head male:

A very pure color all over the head

Yellow head female:

Darker yellow with more black around and within the colored mask.

Pictures gracefully supplied
by my friend Paul from:

My Gouldian Aviary


Clue #4- Bright pure red or yellow head = Male
Clue #5- Dimmer red or yellow head with some black specs= Female


This method is also true in  yellow-backed strains but the black specs would then be replaced by white in the female's mask.

Red head yellow male:

A very pure color all over the head

Red head yellow female:

White feathers flecking in the mask, with more around the beak.


2- Blue collar:

Needless saying that you won't be able to discern black headed females from black headed males using the head color because it is the same in both sexes. A good pointer with sexing black headed birds is the blue collar just around the mask: In males it is bright blue, well-defined and quite large while it is dull and barely noticeable in females.

The blue collar (neck ring) works for all head colors in green-backed and blue-backed birds.

Black head male:

Bright blue sheen just behind the mask

Black head female:

A faint greenish-blue line separates the black head from the green back (note the dark beak)



Black head blue male:

Bright blue color under the chin.


Black head blue female:

A faint line separates the black head from the chest color (notice the dark beak)


Clue #6- Bright blue color around the head = Male
Clue #7- Faint blue, sometimes none, around the head= Female


3- Chest color:

Males have a deep purple color on their chest, while females' chests are lilac. This is valid for all the mutations except white chest of course, because both sexes have the same pure white chests.

There is a chest mutation that causes a male to have a lilac chest, very similar to that of a female.

Purple breasted birds are naturally males, but lilac breasted ones might cause confusion. The safest way to go, is to check other clues when faced with an unsexed lilac breasted bird before deciding that it is a female.

Those birds have very similar chest colors but they are not of the same sex. The bird on the left is a lilac breasted male and the yellow one on the right is a female.


Clue #8- Purple chest = Male
Clue #9- Lilac chest = Female

Clue #10- Lilac chest with all other signs pointing to male= Male


Tail shafts and belly color are two more pointers that can be used to determine the gender of your bird. These methods aren't very reliable on their own and I will explain why, next:


4- Tail shafts:

Normally the two central tail feathers (shafts, wires) of a male are much longer than those of a female, but in some strains, selective breeding has altered the length of the wires in such a way that in both sexes, the difference is barely noticeable anymore..


Clue #11- Long tail wires = Male

Clue #12- Short tail wires= Female


5- Yellow belly color:

Generally, the yellow on the male's abdomen is rich and deep while the female has it  pale yellow with a mustard tinge to it. You will also notice that the color of the male's abdomen is more consistent all over while the female tends to have some lighter color in the areas between the legs and higher up. In white chest birds the abdomen color in both sexes in very similar so if you have a white chest bird, check some other clues just to make sure.  Blue and silver strains have white to creamy abdomens so this method doesn't apply.


Clue #13- Rich yellow abdomen= Male
Clue #14- Mustard yellow, lighter between the legs= Female


These methods are not the only way to go as there are more tricks like the upside down "V" shape under the chin that I mainly use with tan headed silvers. Nevertheless, the 14 clues should be enough to sex any Gouldian that is causing you some gender issues.

  Finally, I hope that with this article, I was able to answer most of your questions regarding sexing your birds and for any further questions, just contact me and I would be more than happy to help you.


copyrights Pascal H, 2003.

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