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Visual Sexing of Senegals

Compiled by Rex Sheasby and Jean Pattison

Mature Senegal parrots can usually be sexed by careful examination of the under-tail (ventral) coverts. Successfully doing so requires an understanding of what to look for, and where. The pictures below illustrate the three color patterns encountered.

Senegal Male (32509 bytes)  

An adult male Senegal with the typical pure yellow under-tail coverts. Mature males with even a hint of green in these feathers are quite rare.


Senegal Hen with Little Green (40492 bytes)  

An adult female Senegal with a mixture of green and yellow in the under-tail coverts. Even the slightest trace of green in these feathers  indicates a female. It may be necessary to hold the bird upside down in a good light in these cases.


Senegal Hen with Heavy Green (42248 bytes)  

An adult female Senegal with mostly green under-tail coverts. Immature Senegals also have this appearance.


Mature male Senegals almost always have pure yellow under-tail coverts.  The survey below will help the avicultural community determine just how rare males with some green in this area are.

Mature female Senegals usually have at least some green in the under-tail coverts, but the amount may be so slight that the loss of a single feather can make a female appear pure yellow. This means that there are a few females with the male color pattern.

Visual sexing is not 100% reliable, but no sexing method short of babies in the nestbox is 100% reliable. Even DNA sexing has been known to fail.

Isabel Taylor was told about the color differences in under-tail coverts by an unknown (to us) breeder. She wrote about it in the newsletter of the Smoky Mountain Cage Bird Society, but we were unable to obtain a copy. One of us (Rex) mentioned visually sexing Senegals in an article ("Senegal Topics") in the Dec. 1991 issue of Bird World..

Senegal Sexing Survey

We are interested in gathering data on as many Senegals as possible.   Please take a moment to answer the four questions. Thanks for your help!

  1. How old is your Senegal? If the exact age is unknown, but the approximate age is known, give a best estimate.
  2. What sex is your Senegal (determined by DNA analysis, surgical sexing, or breeding)?

  3. Your Senegal was:

  4. Is there ANY green at all in the under-tail coverts? 
    (see the diagrams for the location of these feathers)

© 1999-2003 African Parrot Society
Last updated: January 21, 2003
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