Color Mutations of Budgerigars


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Unlike other parakeets, Budgerigars doesn’t have any other sub-species, but it has hundreds and if not thousands of budgie color mutations and counting! Making it probably the most “color-coded” bird species in the world! There are a lot of breeders and bird enthusiasts who at one point or another, tried to create different color mutations which make a budgie very unique. These birds are available in different colors, that even as a first time pet owner like you or someone who had pet birds before can still be overwhelmed by the variety of mutations these species have!

      Below are some of the basic and most popular color mutations of a Budgerigar, you can use this as reference if you’re planning to buy a budgie but don’t know what color to pick or it can also help you to create your own color mutation in the future! Who knows? You could come across something much more unique and beautiful with these birds!

2 Basic Varieties of Budgerigars

      The base color in Budgerigars is usually shown in the mask and face feathers. It can also be found through a pearled pattern on the wings, and some stripes on the neck area.

  • Yellow-based Pigment - All budgies have a shade of blue in their feathers, so when a budgie has a yellow pigment base the blue reflects against the yellow, which results in a normal green budgie color.
  • White-based - it is a pigment based that lacks the yellow color. If the budgie is white-based, their blue feather has no yellow color to reflect on thus, the budgie remains blue.

Important Note:

  • If your budgie has no blue colored feathers and they are yellow-based, the result is called a “Lutino budgie.” It is a full-colored yellow budgie with red eyes.
  • If your budgie has no blue colored feathers and they are white-based budgie, the result is called an “Albino budgie.”

Dark Factors

      Dark Factor ranges from zero level to one and two levels. All domestic budgies have a dark factor (except a normal green budgie)

  • Dark Factor Level One (for green budgies) – it usually appears darker than a normal one. This darker green mutation is therefore called “Dark Green”
  • Dark Factor Level Two (blue budgies) - it usually appears as a dark greyish-bluish color

Important Note:

  • The number of DF (Dark Factors) in the parents counts in the chicks.

Grey Factor

      A Grey Factor (GF) is a factor that adds grey to the normal and dominant body color.

  • Green Budgies (with a DF and GF) – these birds will have a very dark – greenish – greyish appearance
  • White – based Budgies (with a GF) – these birds will have some added grey – color on their feathers

Important Note:

Grey Factor is a very dominant and strong factor, which is why even the slightest gene of this factor will likely appear in budgies.

Violet Factor

      The Violet Factor (VF) is also a color adding factor, just like the Grey Factor, however the VF is not as strong as the GF.

      So if for instance your budgie has a VF, it may or may not show.  The VF is not common in yellow-based budgies, and even if it does show up in yellow – pigment based budgies, it will likely appear as a darker green color.

  • Cobalt Budgies – these birds are white-based budgies that has a Dark Factor Level One with a Violet Factor

Important Note:

      Even if your budgie does not show the VF, they may show a little tinting or shade of the color at the vent, where waste and eggs are deposited during breeding process, and feet area, a great example are Muave-colored budgies, but it is still difficult to determine if they do have the Violet Factor or not.

Dilution Degree

      Dilution degree is a degree measuring how much the body color of a bird is washed out; just like the Dark Factor almost all budgies have a dilution degree.

      Dilution degree only means that any markings your budgie may have (stripes and pearls on neck and back, etc.) are either lighter than usual, or so light that they may even be difficult to recognize. As an example, the body color of a full Dilute budgie is washed out about 80%.

Yellow Face

      Yellow-faced budgies are like in-between combination of white-based budgies and yellow-based budgies.

2 Main Types of Yellow - Face:

  • Type A – are budgies with a yellow mask and may also have a little shade of yellow in his/her tail feathers.
  • Type B – are budgies that are just the same appearance of type A.

      The difference between the two types is that Type B turns more greenish, after the first molt and Type A stays the same, but also has a shade of sky blue.

Important Note:

      Genetics for this mutation are quite hard and they are difficult to find, but ornithologists and bird enthusiasts are still trying to create this kind of mutation.

Opaline

      Opaline is a mutation that makes the main body color show up on the feathers in the patterns on the budgies neck and back. This mutation has no effect to color what-so-ever.

      The Opaline mutation also makes the bars normally on a budgies head thinner, which leaves more color to show through.

Spangle

      Spangle is mutation that is highly similar to the Opaline mutation. It is another pattern-changing mutation, but instead of a pattern on the head/neck, it usually appears on the back and the budgies’ wings. However, the Spangle mutation does not have any color spreading through the patterns like the Opaline. The pearled patterns and stripes become much thinner, causing the basic color underneath to show.

Important Note:

      A budgie can be both Spangle and Opaline mutated birds! This combination has quite beautiful effects and you’re very lucky if your budgie has that characteristic, its one-of-a-kind.

Cinnamon

      Cinnamon is a much simpler pattern-changing mutation. But unlike the Spangle and Opaline, the Cinnamon mutation changes the color of the markings on head, neck, back, and wings to a cinnamon color. 

      It is very uncommon but still the basic body color budgies might gain a cinnamon tinge to it! And although it is a simple mutation, it is quite exotic and attractive!

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