How to Identify the Sex of A Bird For Taxidermy

Identifying the sex of a bird can be both easy and difficult – this greatly depends on the species of the bird which you have just caught. The best way of doing this is to have guide or handbook ready that contains illustrations which will let you identify the species. As a side note, you should find out whether the animal is an adult or a youth. But the next most important classification is to discover if the bird is a male or female. If you’re looking at a mammal then this is easy to identify. But for birds how should this be done?

It is easy to tell the difference between some species such as pheasants because the males and females look completely different. The plumages and sizes will be of vastly different colors. So to identify the differences you simple need a photo or illustration to tell the sex of the bird. See the photos below for a comparison.

male pheasant

Male Pheasant © by chapmankj75

female pheasant

female pheasant © by peter_roberts

But with other birds such as blue tits, the male and female can appear to be almost exactly the same. This is also true of young birds which has not yet fully matured and developed their own sex specific plumage. See the photos below for comparison.

Blue Tit 1

Blue Tit 1 © by Dave-F

blue tit 2

Blue Tit © by Duncan Brown (Cradlehall)

So what should one do when they come across a bird such as a blue tit in which the males and females appear very similar?

Whilst this may not be a pleasant thing to do, you have to identify the testicles or ovaries if you are to discover the sex of a bird. The location of these is almost always in the belly near the small of the back. To add further complications to the problem, the sex organs can change in size depending on the period of the year. During the breeding seasons these can be very easy to identify but during the winter months, such organs may require magnification for them to be discovered.

For the purposes of taxidermy, the correct solution to these problems requires a minor surgery of the bird. Take a pair of sharp and strong scissors or a scalpel. Use these tools to cut through the lower ribs of the bird towards the anus. Once the cut has been made use the scalpel to move the intestines towards one side so that the sex organs can be seen – these should be in front of the kidneys. Both the male and female sex organs are connected to the bowels of the bird via a white colored string like tube. Look out for this so that the sex organs are not confused with the kidneys which can also sometimes appear as white shaped balls.

To identify the male bird testicles, look for two small white and sphereical shaped balls next to each other. To identify the female look for two small white irregular shaped balls which are usually flat – these are the ovaries. Understanding the difference between these two is the key to determining the sex of a bird.

Found this useful? When you buy Taxidermy Made Easy I’ll also provide you with a free bird bible which contains hundreds of illustrations that help you to identify the sexes on a vast variety of different birds. Click here to check it out.

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