Before getting a parrot, you’ve no doubt considered whether you should get a male or female. Both sexes have different characteristics, so it’s vital to think about what traits and qualities you’re looking for before deciding.
Female parrots are smaller and more affectionate, but they’re quieter with duller feathers. Males are far more colorful, but they’re larger, which some owners in small homes can’t accommodate. However, males are more outgoing and playful and are more likely to talk and sing than females.
With all that being said, some parrots are not sexually dimorphic, which means both males and females look the same and can’t be told apart. Their personalities will still differ, though.
Do Male or Female Parrots Make Better Pets?
Some people prefer males for their loud personalities and colorful plumage, whereas others prefer females for their quiet nature and smaller stature. Let’s explore male vs. female parrot behavior to enable you to decide:
If you’re thinking about getting a female parrot, consider the following personality and appearance traits before committing to make sure one is right for you.
Female parrots are usually smaller than males. Their bodies tend to be more slender, but their hips are wider in order to pass eggs. Even parrots that aren’t sexually dimorphic will have subtle size differences, such as a smaller head.
Females also have flatter heads, which is one of the easiest ways to tell the sexes apart. Many owners prefer having female parrots because their smaller stature makes it easier for them to handle and takes up less space.
Female parrots have duller, less colorful feathers than males. This is because males rely on their brightly-colored plumage to earn themselves a mate. Females prefer males with vibrant feathers, so they do not need to be as colorful as their male counterparts.
According to Science Daily, female parrots are less colorful because they need to be camouflaged when guarding their nests. Having duller feathers enables them to blend into their surroundings, protecting them from predators. Males are more likely to be out foraging for food throughout the day, so they get away with having brighter feathers.
Females are known for being more cuddly and affectionate than males. They’re also quieter. However, when they bite, they do so much harder than males. This could be due to their need to protect their young.
This doesn’t go for all parrots, though. For example, female parrots have hormone surges during the breeding season, as their bodies get ready for reproduction. Female Amazon parrots become aggressive during spring, while other species become more affectionate towards their owners.
While some owners enjoy the extra attention during this time, it can cause significant problems. That’s because they see their owners as their mates and begin displaying inappropriate behaviors towards them, particularly when petted.
As mentioned, male and female parrots differ in several ways:
Most male parrot species are larger than females. They have bigger, stronger, heavier bodies with larger, flatter heads. This size difference is because they need to win female attention against the competition of other males.
This isn’t the case across all parrot species, as some match the size of males, but females are rarely bigger – they’re usually the same size if they’re not smaller.
As explained by Scientific American, traits that assist male parrots are caused by natural selection. As we’ve determined, most male parrots are brighter and more colorful than most females.
Males rely on their bright feathers during mating season to find a partner. Feather color and quality are also an indication of health. The brighter the plumage, the more likely the parrot is to produce healthy offspring.
Male parrots are noisy and boisterous. While many owners find this a positive trait, others struggle to cope with the loudness. Male parrots enjoy playing more than females and are also more likely to sing and talk. They may become less playful with their owners in the presence of another male bird, but this varies depending on the personality.
Despite their loud, outgoing nature, male parrots can become aggressive. Though, as we’ve mentioned, they don’t bite as much or as hard as females. They can also be a bit of a handful to look after.
Do Male or Female Parrots Talk More?
There isn’t a definitive answer as to whether male or female parrots are better talkers. In some cases, males talk better than females. For example, male cockatiels and budgies develop larger vocabularies on average than females.
This partly comes from their natural instincts, as males tend to be more vocal in the wild. Males are also more social, so they mimic the sounds of their kin to communicate with their flock. In captivity, their owners become part of their flock, which is why they mimic words.
However, this doesn’t go for all parrots. While certain parrot breeds are more advanced talkers than others, females can be just as talkative as males – if not more so. Female Amazons, African greys, and macaws are just as talented at mimicking words and phrases as their male counterparts.
A parrot’s personality and willingness to learn has a big part to play. It also depends on how often owners speak to their birds. Parrots won’t learn to talk unless they’re trained, so it takes time, patience, and perseverance from a willing owner for them to develop this skill. If a parrot doesn’t want to learn to speak, it won’t.
That’s also why you shouldn’t pick a parrot solely for its mimicking skills. It’s not a guarantee that it’ll speak, regardless of its species and gender.
Are Male Parrots More Aggressive?
As mentioned, female parrots are more commonly regarded as the gentler, calmer parrot species. That’s not to say that males are aggressive, but they’re seen that way due to their energetic, playful temperament. They’re also louder than females, which sometimes gives the impression of anger and aggression.
Similarly, males must assert their dominance in the wild, particularly when finding a mate. Because captive parrots aren’t that far removed from their wild cousins, pet parrots have retained these instincts.
For that reason, male parrots become more aggressive during the breeding season. Socialization and regular human interaction can help weed these behaviors out over time.
When parrots become aggressive, they display the following behaviors:
- Raised crest
- Ruffled feathers
- Swinging from side to side
- Standing still
- Eye pinning
Even if you purposely choose a female parrot in the attempt to avoid these behaviors, they’ll happen regardless of if your environment’s not suitable enough.
The good news is that parrots aren’t naturally aggressive. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice describes how wild parrots don’t bite when they fight. They attack when dealing with stress and fear triggers – aggression isn’t inherent in males or females.
Similarly, some owners confuse aggression with playfulness. For example, if your parrot enjoys sneaking up on you and giving you a gentle nip to get your attention, your bird’s playing a game and not trying to harm you.
Do Male Parrots Prefer Female Owners?
There are stories of how male parrots behave sweet and lovingly towards their female owners but refuse to go near the men in the house. While there’s no solid scientific evidence to back up whether this is true or not, it certainly makes sense if you consider a parrot’s:
- Previous background. For example, it may have been abused by a male in another environment.
- Fear levels. Even a man’s deep voice may be enough to trigger the fear response.
- Lack of socialization. If the man in the house doesn’t spend any time with the parrot, it won’t build a connection and become content around him.
However, even though it may seem that parrots display bias tendencies towards females, it’s unlikely that they can even recognize gender, let alone develop a preference. This goes for female parrots just as much as males.
Socialization is the key to gaining your parrot’s love and affection, regardless of your gender. Owners who handle their parrot often, frequently play with their pet, and provide it with treats are more likely to notice their bird gravitating towards them. Parrots can develop deep bonds as long as their owners take time and effort in forging them.
Both male and female parrots make good pets for different reasons. Females are small, quiet, and cuddly, while males are impressive to look at and fun to play with. However, all traits are interchangeable between the sexes.