Sex identification in birds

What is this about?

Sex identification by molecular methods is based on a DNA fragment located on the sex chromosomes. Male and female birds have distinct DNA patterns, allowing an unambiguous gender identification. Our laboratory has developed protocols especially adapted to species giving poor results with conventional DNA methods. To date we determined the gender of dozens of different species, in particular parrots and nocturnal and diurnal birds of prey, from feathers, egg shells and faeces collected in the field.

Why perform these analyses?

• Sex determination independent from the age of the bird (nestlings and adults).

• Determination from feathers and egg shells (minimal stress for the bird).

• Safe and non-invasive technique (no anaesthesia or surgery, no transport).

• Simple and reliable method (samples sent by mail, fiability of 99.9%).

• Rapid results (certificates will be sent in less than 5 working days after the reception of the samples in our laboratory - results by e-mail or phone if needed).


1) With clean hands, label a paper envelope with the birds' species name and ID (ring nr.).

2) Pluck at least 3 small chest or breast feathers (must be freshly plucked to give enough cells!). For chicks, a single blood feather (growing feather) is enough. Avoid touching the end of the feather shaft.

3) Place the feathers in the labeled envelope (only one bird to one envelope!).

4) Send the envelope(s) by regular mail to our address.



LBC - Biophore - CH-1015 Lausanne
Tel. +41 21 692 41 72
Fax +41 21 692 41 65
Université de Lausanne