Some of the pictures on this page I have gotten from Google Image search, Some are labeled exactly where they came from, others I'm unsure of their true owners so I can't cite where I got them from, when they were being used on a million other sites- If you have a problem with this be polite ;) let me know your site's name/address and exactly what picture it is, and I will add it in, but be sure you take the time to go search yourself and also alert the other million sites using those same pictures who aren't even citing they got it from Google Images they're taking full claim of ownership of the picture, I am not!- If you want people to know the pic is yours - simply add a watermark with your aviary name or website! it only takes a few seconds and that is the Only way a copyright law will stick ;) if there is no watermark on the picture, the picture can belong to any one therefor citing where the picture came from is useless since it can come from anywhere, when it is used on hundreds of other sites and never cited on those either.
So you hear about these different colors and patterns, but how do you tell them apart, and more importantly, what type is YOUR bird!? Firstly there are three different types of mutations. One that changes the color of the bird, one that changes the color of the face markings, and one that changes the pattern. Color Variations We'll start with the colors. There are 6 different recognized color variations. There are occasional claims of other colors, and many of the colors have other names, but these are the colors and names that are recognized by all the cockatiel and bird societies.
Normal Grey Male
Normal Grey is the natural color that cockatiels are in the wild. A mature male will have a dark grey body everywhere except for the white stripe on each wing, the bright yellow face and crest, and the orange cheek spots. The tail may be lighter than the body, but it is still grey in color.
A mature female as well as all immature birds (immature males will look this way too, it is only as they mature that the become like the above description!) all have the same grey body and white wing stripes, but they will have a dull yellow face and orange cheek spots. Often it looks like it's a yellow 'wash' over their heads, which can look almost greenish. They also have yellow 'barring' on their tail and lower bodies. The under-most pair of tail feathers has the most obvious barring, with the rest of the tail feathers having less, but still obvious, stripes and dashes.
Cinnamon is one of the most common colors apart from normal grey. It is exactly the same for the above descriptions, but instead of a grey color over the body, it is a pale dusty' silver/brownish color. It can be mistaken for a light grey, but has a browner overtone, and a paler, softer appearance. Some are a very obvious brown color too.
Pic is from Google Image Search -If it is yours and you can prove its yours let me know I will be more than happy to credit the owner.
A Cinnamon female looks identical to the cinnamon male, the only differences are the face is not as bright yellow, and a female will have the wing spots on the underside of the wings and the bars on the underside of the tail, typical of most females.
pic from http://cockatielfoundation.com/photo-gallery-fallow.html From a Google Search
Pic from http://cockatielfoundation.com/photo-gallery-fallow.html From a Google Search
Fallow is very similar to the cinnamon, and they are hard to tell apart unless you have them side-by-side. Fallow is the same dusty brown color, though fallow tends more to the yellowish side than the cinnamon's brownish color. The main difference between them is that the fallow colored birds have deep red eyes. At first glance, and even on close inspection, it often looks like the normal dark eyes. But get them in the right light (often a camera flash will bring them out, but look for a red IRIS, not the red pupil that happens in any colored eye hit with a camera flash!) and you will find they are actually a dark red color. Fallow is probably a lot more common than it is made out to be, as most fallow cockatiels are labeled as cinnamon, until someone notices their eye color (which often is never noticed!) the colors and markings are the same as for the cinnamon.
Note her body color is white- the Lutino's body color can vary in color and I've had many different shades of Lutino over the years
Lutino is the other very common color. It is the solid white to yellow cockatiel. The lutinos can vary a lot from a buttercup yellow, to a clear snowy white. The male and female, as well as the immature tiel all have the same coloration and markings. Though the barred tail of the immature tiel and the mature hen can sometimes be seen, the fact that the occasional male can retain the barred tails doesn't make it an easy way to tell them apart! All lutinos have the solid yellow to white body all over, including the wings and tail and belly/chest. The head of the lutino is always a bright yellow with bright orange cheek spots. Many people assume that because of that they must have a male, but it is unlike the other colors, and both males and females can have the same brightness, therefore making the sexes look the same. All lutino cockatiels have red eyes (though it can vary from a deep red that looks dark to a bright, obvious red).
Dominant Silver Male
Pic From http://cockatielfoundation.com/photo-gallery-dominant-silver.html from a Google Search
Dominant Silver Female
Pic from http://cockatielfoundation.com/photo-gallery-dominant-silver.html From a Google Search
Double Factor Dominant Silver Male
Pic from http://cockatielfoundation.com/photo-gallery-dominant-silver.html From a Google Search
Silver is rather complicated. There are actually two different versions of ?silver' in cockatiels, and then you can get single and double factors one of the versions! Let me try to explain. There is the dominant silver, and the recessive silver. The recessive silver is a light silvery color, much like a pale normal grey, except they have the same red eyes that fallow and lutinos have. Now the dominant silver can come in both double factor and single factor, depending on how many genes were inherited from the parents. The main difference though is that the double factors are lighter than the single factor ones. The dominant silver is the same light silver color as the recessive silver, but the dominant silvers have a dark grey ?skull cap,' an area around the top of their heads/behind the crest that is a distinctly darker shade of grey.
Dominant silver cockatiels (both double factor and single factor) have dark eyes. Both dominant and recessive silver have the same face/sex-linked colors as the normal grey. The mature male will have a bright face and plain tail, the immature bird and the mature female will have the dull faces and barred tails. They all have the white wing stripe and spots on the flight feathers.
Emerald Pair Male Front Female Back
Picture from Google Search - website attached to pic - this is a good example of a well used watermark ;)
Olive (AKA Emerald) -is a relatively rare mutation, and hardly seen outside of a breeders aviary or a show. It is a bird that is a pale grey color, with a heavy yellow wash' giving a distinct green-ish tone. There is a wide variation in the shades of the olive mutation, some being very pale and others quite a dark olive color. The olive cockatiels have a scalloped pattern in their feathers, with the outer edges of each feather being darker than the centers, making each feather seem outlined in a faint scalloped design.
OK, so that's the colors covered, by now you might have an idea of what color your tiel is. If you are still unsure, have a look in the pet image gallery for some of the different colors, and try searching online for pictures of the color you think yours is. You will find photos and you can compare to see if you are right. Remember, we were only talking about the main color of the body; there are other mutations to talk about yet! Patterns Let's talk about the two mutations that cause patterns on the feathers.
You can NOT visually sex a Pied, the "bars" on the tail or "Spots on the under side of the flight feathers, for females doesn't work on Pied
Pied is a very common pattern. The pied mutation causes areas of white/yellow to fall where there would normally not be any. Like a piebald horse has patches of colored areas and white areas, a pied tiel is the same that it has patches of normally colored and patterned areas, and other areas are a solid yellow/white. The patches can vary from one or two yellow/white flight or tail feathers, to being almost totally white/yellow with only a few colored feathers, and everywhere in between!! The unique thing about pied cockatiels is that even though it is a recessive trait, (a tiel can carry the gene for being pied, and pass it on to it's offspring, without being pied itself) you can see when a tiel is carrying the pied gene. All those cockatiels with a yellow/white spot on the back of the head? they are all ?split to pied'. It just means they carry the gene and have the potential to produced pied babies, but they themselves are not actually pied. The other unique thing about the pied gene is that it overrides the normal face/sex-linked coloration. Where a normal adult male will get the bright head, and the female retain the dull head, in the pied mutation, the way a pied baby is when it is young, is the same as it'll be when it's older. Whether it has a dull head, a bright head, or patches of both on it's head and face, it doesn't make a difference to what gender it is, and it will always stay the same. A bright-faced pied tiel does not make it a male, nor does a dull-faced pied tiel make it a female. In other words, you cannot differentiate the sexes of the pied cockatiels by looking at them!
Normal Pearl - Baby - Female
Pearl is another common pattern. It is the pretty speckled patterning that covers the body of the tiel. It is different to the pied, in that each individual feather is patterned. Each feather has the white/yellow spot/s on it, causing a lacing/spotting/speckling effect. It can vary in its exact pattern on the feather, some being a heavy lacy pattern, others being a light spotting. Some are concentrated over the back and wings, and others cover the whole body evenly. There is a very unique characteristic about the pearl gene, in that most mature males loose the speckling effect over time, whereas the females retain it. Upon the first moult of a male pearled tiel, it will loose much of its ?speckles'. Though he will retain some scattered spots, they too will dissipate over several moults. Occasional males will not loose their speckling, but the majority of them do. All females will retain their patterning, making them often the preferred gender of this mutation! Remember that even though a male may loose his patterning, and end up looking like a normal male, he still is a pearl, and still carries the pearl genes.
Facial Variations OK, so that's the colors and the markings! Hopefully now you know what color your cockatiel is, and what markings it might have, now there's the facial variations!
White Face Male
White Face Female
This is a Picture of Baby An Adult White Face We had a few years ago
White Face is a stunning, fairly common mutation. And fairly self-explanatory! The mutation actually removes all yellow and orange pigmentation from the tiel, so anything that was normally yellow or orange on any other above mutations, is turned white when combined with the white face mutation. The face and head becomes a solid white. In all young birds and the adult females, the face is still duller, but it's a dull grey with a fainter grey cheek spot, rather than the dull yellow and orange (remember, there is no yellow or orange in a white face tiel). The adult white face male will get a bright solid white head after he has his first moult. Also note that a white face pied will have white patches instead of the yellow, as well as the white face pearl will have white speckles. Because the white face mutation removes all the yellow pigmentation, a white face chick hatches out of it's egg with white fuzz, whereas any other mutation is a yellow fuzzy chick. Therefore a white face chick is known to be white faced from the day it hatches! A careful note to make is the albino cockatiel. There is no such thing as an albino cockatiel. The solid white cockatiels, with red eyes, are actually the lutino (the solid yellow/white body) and the white face (the lack of a cheek spot, and the lack of any yellow or orange pigment) mutations combined together, making the bird totally and completely white (with the red eyes of the lutino), If the bird is pure white with no color on the cheeks or crest but the eyes are dark and not red, then it is a Clear Pied (some call them Dark eyed Clear) it still is not an Albino
Pic is from Google Image Search -If it is yours and you can prove its yours let me know I will be more than happy to credit the owner but when I search images I do not always get the actual owner of the picture this is why watermarks on pictures are so important, If they were on the pic I would know who it belonged to
Pastel Face is a less common mutation, and is much like how it sounds. The yellow and orange pigmentation in the cockatiels is diluted to a more pastel' hue. Making the face a pale yellow and the cheek spot a pale pastel orange. Note that it is different to the normal dull of the immature and female face, and is apparent even in the immature female face as a clearly different, pastel', shade of yellow and orange.
Yellow Face/Yellow Cheek is another uncommon mutation, and again is fairly self-explanatory! It is where the orange cheek spot of the tiel is diluted to a clear dark yellow color, making the whole head yellow. The cheek patch is still visible on the yellow face as a darker yellow, but it is not as vivid as the normal orange cheek spot.
That's it! That is all the variations that are recognized by all the cockatiel societies and associations. Some people give the mutations different names, and some say they have other mutations, but usually they are not proven, or just variations of current mutations. Before I go, I'll touch briefly on the fact that the mutations can double, triple, and quadruple up! A common, and very pretty, combination is the "white face, cinnamon, pearl, pied." Quite a mouthful, but think back and we'll go through it as an example. It is a tiel that has no yellow/orange, so has a white head and white markings (the white face mutation) where there is color, it is the dusty brown color (cinnamon) and also where there is color it has the speckled pattern (pearl) and it also has solid patches of white (the pied. Remember they're white patches and not yellow patches, because of the white face mutation). You can get any of the color mutations combined with either, or both, of the markings, and/or also combined with any of the face colors! So tiels can, and do, come in a huge and gorgeous tiel rainbow!
Something I want to clear up that I often see being said that is very wrong. That you can sex cockatiels because of their face - a tiel with Bright cheek patches is male, one with dull cheek patches is female . This is actually untrue. The only Mutation this can truly be done on is Adult Normal Grey's, and it is because the Adult Male gets a full yellow head the female doesn't - so there for a female would have a "dull" face, this also works in Normal Cinnamon's - same way - males get full yellow heads, females don't. You can not visually sex a Pied Cockatiel Both Males and females look identical - both have bright orange cheek patches(unless one has what is known as a "dirty face" then some of them have dull cheek patches- doesn't make that one a female though.
No matter the mutation ALL Juvenile birds(under 1 yr old or 1st molt) will look identical to a female of the same mutation. You can visually sex a White Face If it's had its first molt(but some take until their second molt to really show their "true colors" a Female white face will not have a full white head, it'll be Grey like her body with a tint of white, where as an adult male white face has a full white head - but this again is only for Normal White Faces. if you add pied or pearl into it then you can't sex them by looking at their face. Also you can't use the "tail baring/Wing spots" to sex a Pied - they don't have the barrings/spots (some may but not all) I have a female Pied that Every one swears is a male because she has no spots or bars on her tail - She's been a mom several times She is 100% female ;) ~ K&M Breeding.
** Edited to add an ad I came across today 9-1-12- kept calling a obvious White Face Male cockatiel a Female or using the word She, when I emailed the seller to let them know their "female" was actually a Male, their reply back was "well their bones are apart" - I took this as a Pelvic test was done and those are wrong more than they are right and they're wrong more than DNA testing (which if you've read anything on here you know I am against DNA testing because its wrong so much!) Also when done wrong a pelvic sexing can kill the bird! The pelvic of all young birds are wide like females, so that is no way to sex a bird at all ! no matter what the person says don't take it as being right, especially when the "Female" white face Cockatiel is of the Normal white face variety(no pied, no pearl no cinnamon) and the face is pure white like a sheet! it's Male! **
How to tell if your Cockatiel is split to pied
Pied is the only mutation that you can visually tell when a bird is split to it. Now it does not always show up I have at least one who shows absolutely no sign of being split to pied, but from breeding him I know he is. The Most common "signs" of a cockatiel being split to pied is a "tick" mark on the back of their head, It's just a "Clear" patch of feathers on the back of their head . That is also the most easiest to tell :), another way is if the cockatiel is supposed to have All dark colored nails but it has 1 or 2 light colored nails it's split to pied. I've also read and been told that when a bird has a couple "Clear" tail feathers and flight feathers it's split to pied - but then I've also read and been told that means it is Pied and not split to pied, So I'm still up in the air about that one.
So with that said if any one says "you can tell if your bird is split to White face, cinnamon etc" don't believe them it's untrue. I've been told and read you can tell when a cockatiel is split to white face because the area around the cheek patch(the orange dots) will be whiter than one who is not - I've tested this theory several times and as of today I can say in my birds case it is not true at all. I used a normal grey split to Pied and Lutino Male the area around his cheek patches has a lot of white, I've put him with a White Face and got NO white face chicks, I've put him with a known split to White face, still no White face chicks, He was also with a Pied female who up until last year I had no idea was split to white face, They were together for many years, and had enough babies that if he was split to white face I would of gotten them with that pair and never did, however when I put that pied female to a white face male their 1st clutch had 3 white face babies in it, the very 1st time around. So I will stick with You can only tell if a Cockatiel is split to pied. until during my own breeding I'm shown with proof of it being any other way.
Mutations that do not exist in cockatiels
These "mutations" happen when people use the improper terms for the mutations , and it only causes confusion for new bird owners trying to learn mutations, or new bird breeders who are trying to learn the proper mutations
Fancy Grey - there is no such thing - it's just Grey, Normal or Normal Grey and sometimes you'll see Wild Type - All 4 mean the same thing - it is the original mutation of cockatiels and the mutation you'll find in the wild!
Albino - This is a improper term used for a White Face Lutino. Cockatiels do not have the color blue in their genetics so there for they can NOT create a true Albino because there is no such thing in Cockatiels
Heavy or Light Pearl - There is no such thing as a Heavy Pearl nor is there a such thing as light pearl It's just PEARL the only form of Heavy is in the Pied there are Heavy Pied, Light Pied, and Clear Pied Also known as Reverse Pied, Along with Saddle Back Pied. but For the Pearls it's only Pearl No heavy nor Light pied
Split to Grey You may see it written as xxx/grey - No bird including cockatiels can be SPLIT to their natural color . So if you see an ad that says " Cinnamon/Grey - or Cinnamon Split to Grey" the person posting has no clue what they're talking about! because like I said Grey is the Wild type- their natural color and they can not be split to it.
I have also seen numerous people calling White Face Cockatiels Grey - this is wrong they're not Grey if they were they'd have a yellow face & head and not white - They're White Faces! Also I've seen many people call a Cinnamon Cockatiel Grey which again is wrong it is cinnamon and you can tell the difference between a Grey Cockatiel and a Cinnamon cockatiel it's really not hard.
Also calling a Pearl cockatiel "unique'' is misleading and most do it so they can raise the price of the bird, Or they just don't know anything about mutations. Pearl cockatiels are not unique they're a dime a dozen. it is very hard to get a "pure" mutation any more meaning the bird is not split to anything at all,
I have pearl mutations coming out of my ears, I have 2 Pearl Females, and I have 1 Male Split to pearl and 2 Males that are Pearl visually but since the males don't retain the peals you don't see them but they are still called Pearls none the less! The Pearl Mutation can be found in ALL Cockatiel Mutations, I have A white Face Pearl Male and Female , I have a Cinnamon Pearl male,I have a white face Cinnamon pearl female, I've had Normal Pearls - meaning they were not color mutation like Cinnamon, Fallow, Lutino and when the males pearls went away they looked like the Normal Grey Males. So as you can see Pearl cockatiels are not unique by any means. The word unique means they're not often seen. which is untrue about Pearl Cockatiels.