How do you sex a bird when the sexes look alike?

For a long time one of the biggest difficulties when attempting to breed birds in captivity was identifying true pairs in the many species where the sexes look alike. Advances in science have now made the sexing process a lot simpler, it is possible to extract DNA from a freshly plucked feather or a drop of blood and from this identify the bird as a male or female.

These feathers, from one of this year’s yellow-backed chattering lory chicks, are being sent to a lab so we know the sex of the bird when it is transferred to a new collection later this year.

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