An automated assay for fecal estrogen conjugates in the determination of sex in avian species

Lisa A Tell, B. L. Lasley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Recently captive propagation of psitticines has become necessary in order to preserve and breed endangered species. As habitat destruction increases and importation restrictions become more stringent, the need for a reliable and noninvasive technique for sex assignment is essential to improve the productivity of breeding and raising birds in captivity. One aspect of breeding is the proper assignment of breeding pairs; however, sex identification can be challenging due to the lack of sexual dimorphism in approximately 30% of all avian species. Historically, visual, behavioral, surgical, cytogenetic, and endocrine methods have been utilized in sex identification of avian species; however, the practicality, safety, and reliability of these techniques have been questioned. Therefore, there remains a need for an accurate, simple, and non‐invasive method to identify the sex of monomorphic birds so that the formation of breeding pairs and the success of breeding programs is facilitated. The data in this study support the concept that an automated fluorescence‐immunoassay which measures fecal estrogen conjugates can have an 87% success rate in determining the sex of psitticines, as demonstrated with cockatiels, while offering the advantages of non‐invasiveness, simplicity, and speed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-367
Number of pages7
JournalZoo Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1991


  • estradiol
  • estrone
  • estrone conjugates
  • fluorescence‐immunoassay
  • monomorphism
  • psitticines
  • testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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