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Sex-Linked and Recessive Mutations

Currently, there are ten mutations in addition to the Normal (Grey) cockatiel, Sex-Linked mutations are: Cinnamon, Pearl, Lutino and Yellowface. Recessive Mutations are: Pied, Silver, Fallow and Whiteface. In addition to the above is a Dominant Silver and the Pastel, which is dominant when breed to the Whiteface and recessive when breed to any other mutation.



To ensure your breeding produces the end result of what you desire, planning is a necessity, a problem may not show up in the first generation but can in the second generation. When breeding Cockatiels one of the most common practices is to cross breed Recessive and Sex-Linked mutations. Examples: Pearl pied, Cinnamon-Pearl Pied, Pearl Whiteface Lutino Whiteface (Albino). When breeding certain mutations together consider the following:


In theory Lutino is supposed to mask Cinnamon but in reality, "Cinnamon Bleeds Through Lutino" so I wouldn't cross Cinnamon, Lutino and Whiteface, it produces dirty Albinos. "Cinnamon masks Fallow and Silver" Breeding Cinnamon to Fallow or Silver defeats the advantage of having either color. "Whiteface Masks Yellow(Lipochrome)" this is why Lutino is crossed with Whiteface the end result being Albinos. For this reason trying to produce a visual Lutino-Pearl-Whiteface would be impossible, as Whiteface would mask the yellow pearl patterns and thus make this bird appear as an Albino.


Another example of this type of breeding problem is in the Lutino Whiteface (Albino). In the first generation if you breed a Lutino Whiteface (Albino) Cock to a Cinnamon Whiteface hen, you would get Lutino Whiteface females but the males would be Whiteface split Lutino and Cinnamon. If you then breed one of these males to anything carrying Whiteface you end up with a percentage of birds that are Cinnamon Lutino Whiteface. These birds would appear as Albinos with a Brown shading over their body making them appear dirty. The proper color for Albinos is snow white not dirty brown.


Hopefully, these articles will help many breeders avoid problems in the future by allow you to produce the birds you want by planning your offspring before breeding, rather than to have a surplus of birds you can’t really use.


A Reader's Question


I recently purchased a pair of Silvers but now wonder if they really are. How can you tell if a bird is a Silver? What do I get when I breed a Cinnamon cock to a Yellowface hen? A friend has a Normal hen split Albino would it be a good choice to breed to my Pearl Whiteface male. J.M. WI.

Many birds are sold each year as Silvers when in reality they are light Grey Normals. Silvers (recessive) actually range in color from a light Grey to a dark Cinnamon color. The one thing that is constant in all recessive silvers is their red eyes. If the bird lacks red eyes it is not a recessive Silver. At this point I should also note that the Fallow is also a Cinnamon color with red eyes, but the fallow also has a heavy yellow wash, the Silver doesn't. There is also a Dominant Silver that is Grey in color but at maturity has black legs. This mutation is still hard to come by and quite expensive.


As noted earlier both Cinnamon and Yellowface are sex linked therefore the females of this mating are unable to carry Yellowface on their genes and will only be visual Cinnamons with all males being Normals split Cinnamon split Yellowface. When breeding cockatiels always remember to date Females can only be split to recessive colors: Pied, Silver, Whiteface, Fallow. This hen would be a able to produce you Pearl hens, Pearl Whiteface hens Normal males Split Pearl Whiteface and Whiteface males split Pearl. I often use Whiteface splits in my breeding program. Keep in mind hens cannot be split Albino, only Whiteface. You can have Lutino Hens split Whiteface but there are no hens that can be split Lutino, Cinnamon or Pearl.

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