Canary as a pet

How To Tell If My Canary is Male or Female

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: March 10, 2017
How To Tell If My Canary is Male or Female

For a beginner, distinguishing the sex of a canary is a rather complex task. Even experts can make mistakes when checking whether a canary is male or female. The only absolutely foolproof way to know if a canary is female is when she lays eggs - any other method may be misleading for someone who is not a vet.

But fear not, here at oneHOWTO we are going to explain most reliable methods so you can learn how to tell if your canary is male or female with a few tips and tricks.

You may also be interested in: How Do I Know if My Parrot is Male or Female

Steps to follow:


When the birds are adult it is easier to distinguish whether they are male or female through their form. The males are generally leaner, more built and have a more upright pose. Females are usually smaller and their body and head is more rounded.

For certain canary breeds, sex can be identified by the color of their plumage. This is an aspect that experts in breeding canaries, who note that the the plumage of the male is much more striking and colorful than that of females.


The best time to detect whether your canary is male or female is during the breeding season. This period begins in late winter or early spring, although it depends on the climate of the area. During the courtship ritual, canaries show behavioral differences according to their sex.

If you have a pair of canaries in a cage, you may see the male canary trying to feed the femaleby putting food directly into her beak. If there is another male canary it is normal for them to become more aggressive. Female canaries will begin to prepare the nest, looking for materials that are useful to create a safe and soft place. If you want your canaries to have chicks, take a look at our article on how to improve canary breeding.

Males are prone to singing melodiously and with more intensity to attract the attention of females. Some females sing, but if they do their song is duller than that of males. An important fact to distinguish males is that they stop singing during the molting season and winter. If your canary stops singing at another moment, you should find out why.

How To Tell If My Canary is Male or Female - Step 2

The most precise method to identify the sex of a canary is by looking at the cloaca area during the mating season. To observe the cloaca you should blow gently or lightly moisten it for better visibility. In the outer area of the cloaca males have a bump, while fertile females have a flat abdomen. This can only be seen during the mating season, and it is impossible to detect it later.


They are other more or less effective methods to tell if your canary is male or female while it is still in the nest. Many experts say that you should tap the nest and observe the reactions of the birds. Males usually look down and lift their tail. By contrast, females are not disturbed by the tapping.

Another method to know if the young canary is male or female is by placing it on a towel or tissue where it can hook in its claws. If it does not stop moving and tries to get out and explore, this is a sign that they are male.

Breeders also say that if a canary starts singing right after its first molting period, it's a male. There is a possibility that it is a female and that she is singing due to a difference in hormones, though. Remember that during the molting period canaries require specific care; don't miss our articles on how to care for a canary and how to feed a canary properly.

As we said at the beginning, identifying the sex of a canary is no easy task, but with a combination of these tips you can get a reasonably accurate indication of the sex of your canary.

How To Tell If My Canary is Male or Female - Step 4

If you want to read similar articles to How To Tell If My Canary is Male or Female, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

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What did you think of this article?
A simpler method is to wiggle one finger near the canary, through the wires of the cage, A hen will act as though the finger is a snake and attack it. The male canary will shy away.
John Hunt
Sexing canaries? Is there no hard fast, accurate way to determine the sex of my birds. Not sure, here, but have my ideas somewhat on their physical appearance in their cages? Thanks, John.
OneHowTo Editor
Hi John,

Breeders and caretakers of canaries will be able to use their experience to determine the bird's gender more quickly. However, even with experience, the differences are subtle enough to make it a tricky task. Being methodological is the most effective way.
Lillian Stremel
I have 1 canary I was told by my Grandmother that it was male. Then it never started singing so I came here and figured out that it is not male it is female. Not sure how old she is, so if anyone has tips on how to tell the age that would be great.
I have 3 canaries. I know 1 is definitely a female had 4 eggs 1 must have been a dud they tossed it. But l do not know how to tell the other 2. We were told just by blood work. Don't understand that. Now 2 of them are getting aggressive 1 more than the other. Is there anyway to stop the egg laying. Do not want more birds.
Pls advise
Hi everybody , I have 2 canary , they have 8 month and they don't sing like the others canaries sing ,, one of them sing little bit in the morning , the other do just some tweets ... is that normal ?
It is normal for a male to not sing until it's one year old. That's the way it was with mine. Females usually just tweet.
Did yours start singing?
I have two canaries one one nest. I believed them to both be female. Both made the nest, both sit in the nest and both feed each other. Is this normal or do I have a quiet male?
Maria Z.
This is too cute
My canary is a kid not an adult, are there ways to cheak gender when it is a kid
Alba Charles (oneHOWTO editor)
Hi Lucy, determining the sex of a canary is easier if they're adults, but you can still tell if yours is male or female if it's still a kid. Try a combination of the tips in the article and you'll find out.
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How To Tell If My Canary is Male or Female