Cockatiel Mutation: There are many different colors and mutations of cockatiels to choose from when buying cockatiels It is important to remember that regardless of the color or mutation variation of cockatiels, each of them is of the same species and has the same health and care needs over time. Thus, you don’t need to learn anything special about the particular color you are looking for.
Just make sure you understand how to properly care for cockatiels in general. Which cockatiels color or mutation do you prefer? We want to hear from you in our comments section below.
A quick reminder of the terms of genetics applied to cockatiel
Genetics, and more particularly that of the cockatiel, consists of several data that it is important to master to understand how it works:
- Genotype: genetic composition of an organism (its genes and alleles, including what is “not seen”)
- The phenotype: the traits expressed physically on an organism (what “we see” on the animal)
- An autosomal chromosome: chromosome not related to sex
- A gonosomal chromosome: chromosome related to the sex of the individual
- A dominant allele: a dominant trait is expressed and will therefore mask the presence of a recessive trait
- A recessive allele: a recessive trait will only be expressed if it is homozygous (the alleles brought by both parents are identical)
- Mutations: in cockatiels, different “types” or “varieties” are called mutations
- The wild type: this is how the natural wild variety of cockatiel is called
- Abbreviations used for cockatiel include 1/0 to designate a male, 0/1 to designate a female, 1/1 for a couple, and 0/0/1 for a non-sexed animal.
Deciphering genetics: which mutation for my cockatiel?
Understanding the concept of dominance and recessivity is the basis of genetics. The genes are presented in pairs, and each of the parents of a baby cockatiel will give one of its two genes to its offspring. These are called alleles. Each child has the same chance of inheriting one or the other of the alleles of each gene, without distinction. Let’s imagine a couple of cockatiels: mom is purple and dad is blue. To the baby, mom will give his purple allele (called V or v) and dad his blue allele (called B or b).
first theory Blue is a dominant color and purple is recessive.
In the codification of genetics, the uppercase letters are reserved for the dominant alleles and the lowercase letters for recessive alleles: thus, blue will be “B” and purple will be “v”.
The baby will be genetically Bv (heterozygous: two different alleles). Blue will “dominate” and therefore express itself alone. We will not see purple, to know that it is present genetically, it will be necessary to know the genealogy of the animal. The baby will therefore be blue in color and carry purple.
Second theory our blue cockatiel itself has a purple parent!
For a recessive allele to express itself, it needs both parents to transmit it to him: this is the case of the mom who is vv (homozygous, two identical alleles). Both cockatiels should therefore be purple or purple carriers to have the chance to get a purple baby! As one of our baby’s grandparents is purple, Dad is Bv while Mom is always vv. There are several possibilities:
- A baby inherits mom’s v and dad’s B: baby is blue
- A baby inherits mom’s v and dad’s v: baby is purple
The third theory we notice is that only males can be carriers of purple: it is a mutation related to sex!
Be careful though, the birds are reversed compared to the man: the male is rated XX and the female XY: it must be remembered not to be mistaken!
A sex-related mutation is found on the X chromosome: be aware that the female cockatiel cannot be a carrier of this type of mutation: she is visually what she carries in her genes. So, if you have a purple baby but the mom is not purple herself, it is necessarily the dad who is a carrier! Knowing this is very useful when the genealogy does not go back to the grandparents, to know which of the two birds in your couple carries the mutation that interests you.
In addition, sex-related mutations can allow you in some cases to determine what the sex of your baby cockatiel is! This is the case, for example, of the lutino mutation: it is transmitted by the father to his daughters, so to have a lutino male the mother must also be!
Some mutations of the cockatiel
The cinnamon (CIN):
The bird is brown instead of dark gray.
The special case of ino (INO):
The genotype called “ino” causes mutations that suppress certain melanins. The ino groups 3 phenotypes according to the mutations with which it agrees (example: mutation ino + mutation face white will give an albino bird):
– the “wild” ino face: the lutino
– the pale ino face: the cremino
– the white ino face: the albino
Opaline, or pearl (OPA):
females and young cockatiels have drawings of pearls on feathers, this mutation does not affect males
Yellow cheeks (JJ):
The bird has yellow cheeks instead of red, due to the absence of red pigmentation.
The White Face (FB):
The bird is gray and white in the absence of yellow and red pigments. The presence of a white line around a yellow mask in wild-type cockatiels is a sign that it carries the White Face mutation.
The variegated (PAN):
The bird randomly has white spots on its body. If the cockatiel is variegated only on the wings, it is said to be “ensouled”.
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