The cytoarchitectural analysis of the preoptic-anterior hypothalamic region of the Japanese quail reveals a sexual dimorphism in the total volume of the medial preoptic nucleus (significantly larger in males than in females). Different nuclei of the region (dorsal preopticus, suprachiasmaticus) do not show any statistically significant difference. The sex-related difference is more consistent comparing the distribution of dark volume. This last is due to a larger number of cells containing high amount of Nissl's substance in male than in female. Present findings represent the first example of sexual dimorphism in the avian hypothalamus.