How to Tell Male Zebra Finches From Female

By Debbie Tolle

The zebra finch originated in Australia and is still found throughout Australia today. Zebra finches are social birds and are best kept in pairs. Male and female zebra finches can be differentiated based on the bird's markings. However, it is not until after the finches' first molting (feather shedding) that sex differences between male and female become apparent. As the birds mature there will be an obvious difference based on beak, breast, cheeks, throat, flanks and legs.

Finches observed by Charles Darwin
credit: Images

Step 1

Examine zebra finches' beaks. A male will have a noticeably brighter beak than a female. The color of a male beak is a deeper red-orange color than the female. A female beak is more of a pale orange.

Step 2

Inspect the birds' breasts. A male zebra finch will have a black breast bar not seen on a female zebra finch. The black breast bar extends across the entire breast.

Step 3

Look at the finches' cheeks. Male zebra finches will have orange patches not seen on a female finch. The cheek patches of a young male will be pale until he has fully matured at approximately six months of age.

Step 4

Check the throat area for differences. A male zebra finch will have what look like zebra stripes that are black and white. The stripes will be located above the black breast bar and below the beak.

Step 5

Look at the bird's flanks. The flanks are on each side of the bird just below the upper portion of the wings. A male zebra finch will have a chestnut-colored patch with white spots. The female zebra finch will not have flank patches.

Step 6

View the legs of zebra finches. The legs and feet of a male zebra finch will have the same deeper red-orange color than those of the female zebra finch.