History of the Lutino Cockatiel Mutation
By Maureen O'Steen
The strikingly lovely lutino cockatiel was first recorded in 1958. It was the first sex-linked mutation produced. Parents were a pair of seemingly normal greys, bred by Cliff Barringer. Mrs. E. L. Moon, Curator of Florida’s Parrot Jungle, acquired the pair and was given credit for further developing the strain.
The A.C.S. show standard calls for a deep buttercup yellow. In reality, however, most lutinos range from white to a pale yellow. Our standard continues to be challenging to obtain.
Lutinos have been mistakenly referred to as albinos by many pet owners. A lutino cockatiel has an orange cheek patch and sports a yellow crest. The albino cockatiel is a totally stark white bird with no cheek patch. It is actually a double mutation (lutino-whiteface). Both have red eyes.
The lutino-pearl double mutation is truly lovely, showing bright yellow pearling on the wings. Lutino-pieds usually appear more yellow than the pure lutino, and will retain the red eye into adulthood. If pied feathers appear on the underside of the tail, you probably will not be able to correctly identify the sex, as both sexes will show solid feathers.
Lutino-cinnamons appear to have a cream color wash. This is not to be confused with the adult male lutino that frequently shows a lavender shading on the wings. The cream color is visual from the time the feathers first appear.
The lutino mutation has had some bad press. Much has been written concerning “night fright” and genetic weakness. Personally, I have not found this to be true in my line, nor in that of many A.C.S. breeders. If you have found this in your lines, I would suggest considering outcrossing.
The genetic fault of baldness still plagues many breeders of lutinos. Breeding a bald cock to a bald hen will insure you of producing this undesirable feature in all your chicks.
Many A.C.S. breeders have been producing fully feathered lutinos for several generations now, and are to be commended for their good fortune.