Budgie Colors and Mutations

Trying to figure out what variety your budgie is? Or maybe you would like to see what different kinds of budgies there are out there. Interested in learning about budgie genetics? This is the section you need to read! To learn all about all the different budgie mutations and how they work, start at the top and read on

Note: All pictures on this page should work. If one fails to load either right click and select "Show Picture" or reload the page.

Tip: Click on any linked word to see a definition and/or picture example.

PS - I am looking for pictures that I can use on this page. Do you have a picture I may be able to use? Go to the contact page and send me a message that you have a photo you would like to submit. I will e-mail you back so that you may send the photo(s) as an e-mail attachment.
Check back often for updates.

The wild budgerigar  

The budgie's original variety is shown in the picture to the right. The original budgie variety is yellow-based with blue feather structure in the body feathers, resulting in the classic green coloration of the main body (yellow+blue=green). Observe the striping pattern on the head and wings, which are both the normal type.

All varieties other than the original wild-type have occurred in budgies bred in captivity. Many are commonly available in pet stores. Some are more common among budgies bred for show. Others are extremely rare.

wbudgie1

Coloration Mutations

Base Color

All budgies fall into one of two basic varieties. Either they have a yellow pigment base or they lack a yellow pigment base and are therefore white-based. In general, the base color is visible in the mask feathers and between the black stripes of the head and wings. (The exception is the yellow-face variety.) Normally, the body feathers are structured to reflect blue. In yellow-based budgies the blue in the body feathers combines with the yellow base pigment, which results in a bright green, the most common variety. In white-based budgies there is no yellow base pigment, so the blue structure of the body feathers results in bright blue coloration.

Basic Genetics:

Yellow-base - dominant
White-base - recessive

There are only two alleles for a budgie's base color: yellow-based and white-based. The yellow-based allele is dominant to the recessive white-based allele. Here, we will represent the yellow-based gene as "B" and the white-based gene as "b". Therefore there are three possible genetic combinations for any budgie:

  • BB - Two yellow-base genes (homozygous) resulting in a yellow-based budgie.
  • Bb - One yellow-base gene and one white-base gene (heterozygous) resulting in a yellow-based budgie that is "split" for white-base.
  • bb - Two white-base genes (homozygous) resulting in a white-based budgie.
v_bluegreen1

As you can see, the only way that a budgie will be white-based is if both of it's genes are the recessive white-base. If the yellow-base gene accompanies the white-base gene, the budgie will be yellow-based because the yellow-base gene is dominant. Such a budgie is heterozygous and is said to be "split" for white-base, which means it carries the recessive gene, but does not show it because of the presence of the dominant gene. Breeding two yellow-based budgies who are split for white-base can result in white-based budgies. However, it is difficult to tell if a budgie is split for white-base. It is said that if there is blue in the feathers around the vent of a normal yellow-based budgie, it is split for white-base. Either knowing the varieties of the parents or selective breeding can reveal the genetics of a particular bird. Below are Punnet square examples of possible pairings.

Two homozygous yellow-based budiges
BBXBB

B
B
B
BB
BB
B
BB
BB

Offspring Phenotype Results:
100% Yellow-based

Offspring Genotype Results:
100% Homozygous dominant (BB)

A homozygous yellow-based budgie and a heterozygous (split for white-base) yellow-based budgie
BBXBb

B
B
B
BB
BB
b
Bb
Bb

Offspring Phenotype Results:
100% Yellow-based

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Homozygous dominant (BB)
50% Heterozygous (Bb)

Two heterozygous yellow-based budgies (both split for white-base)
BbXBb

B
b
B
BB
Bb
b
Bb
bb

Offspring Phenotype Results:
75% Yellow-based
25% White-based

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Heterozygous (Bb)
25% Homozygous dominant (BB)
25% Homozygous recessive (bb)

A homozygous yellow-based budige and a white-based budgie
BBXbb

B
B
b
Bb
Bb
b
Bb
Bb

Offspring Phenotype Results:
100% Yellow-based

Offspring Genotype Results:
100% Heterozygous (Bb)

A heterozygous (split for white-base) yellow-based budige and a white-based budgie
BbXbb

B
b
b
Bb
bb
b
Bb
bb

Offspring Phenotype Results:
50% Yellow-based
50% White-based

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Heterozygous (Bb)
50% Homozygous recessive (bb)

Two white-based budgies
bbxbb

b
b
b
bb
bb
b
bb
bb

Offspring Phenotype Results:
100% White-based

Offspring Genotype Results:
100% Homozygous recessive (bb)

v_yellowbase1

A yellow-based budgie results in the classic green variety.

v_whitebase2

A white-based budgie results in the common blue variety.

Dark Factor

All budgies have a level of "dark factor" ranging from no dark factor, one dark factor, or two dark factors. Wild budgies have no dark factor. Dark factor basically darkens the blue in the body feathers. (In budgies totally lacking normally colored feathers, such as albinos and lutinos, the budgie's dark factor will be present but unknown). A green (yellow-based) budgie with no dark factor will be the original very bright green; this variety is called "green" or "light green." One dark factor will result in a darker green; this variety is called "dark green." Two dark factors will result in a deep olive drab green color; this variety is called "olive." A blue (white-based) budgie with no dark factor will be the original bright sky blue; this variety is called "sky blue." One dark factor will result in a slightly darker blue; this variety is called "cobalt." Two dark factors will result in a deep grey blueish color (more grey than blue); this variety is called "mauve." Within each level of dark factor is room for some variation in darkness. One sky blue may look a little darker than another sky blue and one olive budgie may look a little lighter than another olive budgie. But usually there is no mistaking which dark factor category a budgie falls into, and the pictures below can be used as a guide.

Basic Genetics:

Dark factor - semi-dominant
Normal - recessive

There are only two alleles that determine the darkness of a budgies body color: the normal gene and the dark factor gene. The dark factor gene is semi-dominant to the recessive normal gene. This means that a budgie that has one dark factor and one normal gene looks different from a budgie that has two dark factor genes. Here, we will represent the dark factor gene as "D" and the normal gene as "d". Therefore there are three possible genetic combinations for any budgie:

  • dd - Two normal genes (homozygous) resulting in a normal light colored budgie (light green or sky blue).
  • Dd - One dark factor gene and one normal gene (heterozygous) resulting in a single dark factor budgie (dark green or cobalt).
  • DD - Two dark factor genes (homozygous) resulting in a double dark factor budgie (olive or mauve).
v_darkfactor2

As you can see, the darkness of a budgie occurs in degrees, depending on the number of dark factors present. Below are punnet squares of some (but not all) possible pairings.

Two light (no dark factor) budgies (light green or sky blue)
ddXdd

d
d
d
dd
dd
d
dd
dd

Offspring Phenotype Results:
100% Light (no dark factor)

Offspring Genotype Results:
100% Homozygous recessive (dd)

Two single dark factor budgies (dark green or cobalt)
DdXDd

D
d
D
DD
Dd
d
Dd
dd

Offspring Phenotype Results:
25% Double dark factor
50% Single dark factor
25% Light (no dark factor)

Offspring Genotype Results:
25% Homozygous dominant (DD)
50% Heterozygous (Dd)
25% Homozygous recessive (dd)

A double dark factor bugie (olive or mauve) and a light (no dark factor) budgie (light green or sky blue)
DDXdd

D
D
d
Dd
Dd
d
Dd
Dd

Offspring Phenotype Results:
100% Single dark factor

Offspring Genotype Results:
100% Heterozygous (Dd)

A light (no dark factor) budige (light green or sky blue) and a single dark factor budgie (dark green or cobalt)
ddXDd

d
d
D
Dd
dd
d
Dd
dd

Offspring Phenotype Results:
50% Single dark factor
50% Light (no dark factor)

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Heterozygous (Dd)
50% Homozygous recessive (dd)

v_lightgreen1

No dark factor in a green (yellow-based) budgie relults in the classic light green variety.

v_darkgreen5

One dark factor in a green (yellow-based) budgie relults in the dark green variety.

v_olive1

Two dark factors in a green (yellow-based) budgie relults in the olive variety.

v_skyblue1

No dark factor in a blue (white-based) budgie results in the sky blue variety.

v_cobalt2

One dark factor in a blue (white-based) budgie results in the cobalt variety.

v_mauve3

Two dark factors in a blue (white-based) budgie results in the mauve variety.

Grey Factor

Gray factor is a color-adding factor. If a budgie has a grey factor, the color grey is added to the budgie's original body color. The grey factor is very strong and overrides the underlying color. Normal yellow-based budgies with a grey factor will be a grey-green color. Normal white-based budgies with a grey factor will be a grey color.

Basic Genetics:

Grey factor - dominant
Normal - recessive

There are only two alleles for the grey trait: the grey factor gene and the normal gene. The grey factor gene is completely dominant to the recessive normal gene. This means that a single-factor grey looks the same as the double-factor grey. Here, we will represent the grey gene as "G" and the normal gene as "g". Therefore there are three possible genetic combinations for any budgie:

  • gg - Two normal genes (homozygous) resulting in a normal budgie.
  • Gg - One grey factor gene and one normal gene (heterozygous) resulting in a grey factor budgie that is genetically single-factor.
  • GG - Two grey factor genes (homozygous) resulting in a grey factor budgie that is genetically double-factor.
v_greygreen2

As you can see, it only takes one grey gene for a budgie to display the grey factor. This makes this is an easy variety to breed. Grey factor creates grey-green in yellow-based budgies and grey in white-based budgies. Below are some punnet square examples of pairings. A budgie described as "grey factor," "single factor grey," or "double factor grey" can either be yellow-based (grey green) or white-based (grey).

A normal budgie and a single factor grey budgie
ggXGg

g
g
G
Gg
Gg
g
gg
gg

Offspring Phenotype Results:
50% Grey Factor
50% Normal

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Heterozygous (Gg)
50% Homozygous recessive (gg)

A normal budgie and a double-factor grey budgie
ggXGG

g
g
G
Gg
Gg
G
Gg
Gg

Offspring Phenotype Results:
100% Grey Factor

Offspring Genotype Results:
100% Heterozygous (Gg)

Two single-factor grey budgies
GgXGg

G
g
G
GG
Gg
g
Gg
gg

Offspring Phenotype Results:
75% Grey Factor
25% Normal

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Heterozygous (Gg)
25% Homozygous dominant (GG)
25% Homozygous recessive (gg)

A single factor grey budgie and a double factor grey budgie
GgXGG

G
g
G
GG
Gg
G
GG
Gg

Offspring Phenotype Results:
100% Grey Factor

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Homozygous dominant (GG)
50% Heterozygous (Gg)

v_greygreen1

Grey factor in a normal yellow-based budgie results in the grey-green variety.

v_grey1

Grey factor in a normal white-based budgie results in the grey variety. This budgie is also dominant pied.

Violet Factor

Violet factor is a color-adding factor. However, it is not as strong as the grey factor. If a budgie has a violet factor, you may or may not know it. True violet only shows up on cobalt budgies (white-based budgies with one dark factor) or, if double factor, on sky blue budgies(white-based budgies with no dark factor). It is very hard to tell if yellow-based budgies carry a violet factor. The violet usually darkens the green of the body feathers similarly to a dark factor. Sometimes, if you look closely, a violet tinge will be visible on the body feathers near the feet and vent of a green budgie with violet factor. Sky blue budgies with one violet factor will have a violet tinge, especially in the body feathers near the feet, and sometimes look darker than a normal sky blue. It is very difficult to detect violet factor in mauve budgies.

Basic Genetics:

Violet factor - semi-dominant
Normal - recessive

There are only two alleles for the violet trait: the violet factor gene and the normal gene. The violet factor gene is semi-dominant to the recessive normal gene. Because it is semi-dominant, in some cases a single-factor violet looks different from a double-factor violet. Here, we will represent the violet gene as "V" and the normal gene as "v". Therefore there are three possible genetic combinations for any budgie:

  • vv - Two normal genes (homozygous) resulting in a normal budgie.
  • Vv - One violet factor gene and one normal gene (heterozygous) resulting in a violet budgie only in cobalts and slightly detectable violet undertones in greens, sky blues, and mauves.
  • VV - Two violet factor genes (homozygous) resulting in a violet budgie in cobalts and sky blues and detectable violet undertones in greens and mauves.
v_violet6

As you can see, the presence of one violet factor causes violet coloration in a budgie, but only causes true violet body color in cobalt budgies (budgies with one dark factor). Two violet factors cause the violet coloration in budgies to be more visible, but only causes true violet body color in cobalts and sky blues. It is difficult to breed true violets because of the conditions required to obtain the true violet body color. You can usually tell a green budgie has at least one violet factor. The violet darkens the green body color and sometimes causes violet to show in the feathers near the feet and vent. The feet may also look very dark or purple. Single-factor violet sky blues are darker that normal sky blues and usually show some violet coloration on the body feathers near the feet and vent. It is very difficult to tell if a mauve has the violet factor. Below are some punnet square examples of pairings.

Basic Violet Inheritance Patterns

A normal budgie and a single factor violet budgie
vvXVv

v
v
V
Vv
Vv
v
vv
vv

Offspring Phenotype Results:
50% Single-Factor Violet
50% Normal

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Heterozygous (Vv)
50% Homozygous recessive (vv)

A normal budgie and a double-factor violet budgie
vvXVV

v
v
V
Vv
Vv
V
Vv
Vv

Offspring Phenotype Results:
100% Single-Factor Violet

Offspring Genotype Results:
100% Heterozygous (Vv)

Two single-factor violet budgies
VvXVv

V
v
V
VV
Vv
v
Vv
vv

Offspring Phenotype Results:
25% Double-Factor Violet
50% Single-Factor Violet
25% Normal

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Heterozygous (Vv)
25% Homozygous dominant (VV)
25% Homozygous recessive (vv)

A single factor violet budgie and a double factor grey budgie
VvXVV

V
v
V
VV
Vv
V
VV
Vv

Offspring Phenotype Results:
50% Double-Factor Violet
50% Single-Factor Violet

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Homozygous dominant (VV)
50% Heterozygous (Vv)

Advanced Violet Inheritance Patterns:

(Inheritance Patterns of both the Dark Factor and Violet Factor)

Two violet budgies (both cobalt, single-factor violet)
DdVvXDdVv

DV
Dv
dV
dv
DV
DDVV
DDVv
DdVV
DdVv
Dv
DDVv
DDvv
DdVv
Ddvv
dV
DdVV
DdVv
ddVV
ddVv
dv
DdVv
Ddvv
ddVv
ddvv

Offspring Phenotype Results:
37.5% True Violet (Cobalt Violet)
18.75% Mauve Violet
12.5% Sky Blue Single-Factor Violet
12.5% Cobalt
6.25% Mauve
6.25% Sky Blue
6.25% True Violet (Sky Blue Double-Factor Violet)

A sky blue budgie and a violet budgie (cobalt, single-factor violet)
ddvvXDdVv

dv
dv
dv
dv
DV
DdVv
DdVv
DdVv
DdVv
Dv
Ddvv
Ddvv
Ddvv
Ddvv
dV
ddVv
ddVv
ddVv
ddVv
dv
ddvv
ddvv
ddvv
ddvv

Offspring Phenotype Results:
25% True Violet (Cobalt Violet)
25% Cobalt
25% Sky Blue Single-Factor Violet
25% Sky Blue

v_violet1
v_violet4
v_violet3
v_violet5

Violet factor in a cobalt budgie or double-factor violet in a sky-blue budgie results in the true violet variety. The two budgies on the right are opaline violets.

Dilution

In addition to a dark factor, budgies may also have a degree of dilution. There are four types of dilution: greywing, full-body-color greywing, clearwing, and dilute. Greywing budgies have grey markings on head and wings instead of black, and the body feather color is about 50% diluted (washed out). Full-body-color greywing budgies have the same grey markings of the greywing but the body color is brightened (not lightened or diluted). Clearwing budgies have very light or no markings on head and wings and the body color is brightened (not lightened or diluted). Dilute budgies are washed out all over. The head and wing markings are very light, and the body color is about 80% diluted (washed out). Without any dilution, the budgie looks like the normal budgies seen above.

Basic Genetics:

Normal - dominant
Greywing - recessive, co-dominant with clearwing
Clearwing - recessive, co-dominant with greywing
Dilute - recessive

There are four dilution alleles: normal, greywing, clearwing, and dilute. The normal allele is dominant to all other alleles. Greywing and clearwing are both recessive to normal and dominant to dilute. Greywing and clearwing are co-dominant with each other, which means they do not completely dominate over each other and both affect the budgie's phenotype when present. Dilute is recessive to all other alleles.

v_dilution1

The dilute mutation can be confusing since there are three non-normal alleles which make four different phenotypes. This is how it works: Greywing and clearwing are co-dominant. The greywing gene by itself produces more pigment in the wings, causing the grey colored markings, and less pigment in the body feathers, causing 50% color dilution. The clearwing gene by itself produces less pigment in the wings, causing very light markings, and more pigment in the body feathers, causing the bright body color. When a budgie has both a greywing and a clearwing gene, the budgie is a full-body-color greywing. The greywing gene makes up for the lack of wing pigmentation ability of the clearwing gene, and the clearwing gene makes up for the lack of body feather pigmentation ability of the greywing gene.
So when a budgie is homozygous greywing or has a greywing gene with the recessive dilute gene, the budgie has the grey wing markings and diluted body color. When a budgie is homozygous clearwing or has the clearwing gene with the recessive dilute gene, the budgie has very light wing markings and a bright body color. When a budgie has both the greywing and clearwing gene, it is a full-body-color greywing with grey wing markings and bright body color. When a budgie has two of the recessive dilute genes it shows the traits of dilute with about 70% washed out markings/color all over.

Here, "C" represents the normal gene, "cg" represents the greywing gene, "cw" represents the clearwing gene, and "cd" represents the dilute gene. With these four alleles we have the following possible genotypes:

  • CC, Ccg, Ccw, Ccd - Two normal genes or one normal gene and any of the recessive genes, resulting in a normal budgie.
  • cgcg, cgcd - Two greywing genes or one greywing gene and a dilute gene, resulting in a greywing budgie.
  • cgcw - One greywing gene and one clearwing gene, resulting in a full-body-color greywing budgie.
  • cwcw, cwcd - Two clearwing genes or one clearwing gene and one dilute gene, resulting in a clearwing budgie.
  • cdcd - Two dilute genes, resulting in a dilute budgie.

As you can see there are only five phenotype possibilities but many possible genetic combinations. It is key to remember that greywing and clearwing are co-dominant. The normal greywing has grey marking and 50% body color dilution. The normal clearwing has very light markings and no body color dilution. When the greywing and the clearwing gene are both present, we get the full-body-color greywing, which has the grey markings of the greywing mutation and the body color of the clearwing mutation. Other than the co-dominant relationship between greywing and clearwing, all other combinations work in a dominant-recessive relationship. The normal gene will prevail in the presence of any of the other recessive alleles. The greywing gene prevails when the dilute gene is present. The clearwing gene prevails when the dilute gene is present. Only when both genes are dilute does the dilute phenotype show up since dilute is recessive to all the other alleles. Below are Punnet square examples of some possible pairings. From these you can see that breeding the different dilution varieties can get pretty complicated.

A homozygous normal and a dilute
CCXcdc
d

C
C
cd
Ccd
Ccd
cd
Ccd
Ccd

Offspring Phenotype Results:
100% Normal

Offspring Genotype Results:
100% Heterozygous: normal split for dilute (Ccd)

A homozygous greywing and a homozygous clearwing
cgcgXcwc
w

cg
cg
cw
cgcw
cgcw
cw
cgcw
cgcw

Offspring Phenotype Results:
100% Full-body-color greywings

Offspring Genotype Results:
100% Heterozygous: greywing with clearwing (cgcw)

A greywing split for dilute and a clearwing split for dilute
cgcdXcwc
d

cg
cd
cw
cgcw
cwcd
cd
cgcd
cdcd

Offspring Phenotype Results:
25% Full-body-color greywing
25% Greywing
25% Clearwing
25% Dilute

Offspring Genotype Results:
25% Heterozygous - greywing with clearwing (cgcw)
25% Heterozygous - greywing split for dilute (cgcd)
25% Heterozygous - clearwing split for dilute (cwcd)
25% Homozygous recessive (cdcd)

Two full-body-color greywings
cgcwXcgc
w

cg
cw
cg
cgcg
cgcw
cw
cgcw
cwcw

Offspring Phenotype Results:
50% Full-body-color greywing
25% Greywing
25% Clearwing

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Heterozygous - greywing with clearwing (cgcw)
25% Homozygous - greywing (cgcg)
25% Homozygous - clearwing (cwcw)

A dilute budgie and a normal budgie split for dilute
cdcdXCc
d

cd
cd
C
Ccd
Ccd
cd
cdcd
cdcd

Offspring Phenotype Results:
50% Normal
50% Dilute

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Heterozygous - normal split for dilute (Ccd)
50% Homozygous recessive (cdcd)

A normal budgie split for greywing and a normal budgie split for dilute
CcgxCcd

C
cg
C
CC
Ccg
cd
Ccd
cgcd

Offspring Phenotype Results:
75% Normal
25% Greywing

Offspring Genotype Results:
25% Homozygous dominant (CC)
25% Heterozygous - normal split for greywing (Ccg)
25% Heterozygous - normal split for dilute (Ccd)
25% Heterozygous - greywing split for dilute (cgcd)

v_greywing3
v_greywing2

The greywing variety has grey markings on the wings and a 50% diluted body color.


v_greywingfbc5
v_greywingfbc8

The full-body-color greywing variety has grey markings on the wings and head and a bright body color.


v_clearwing1
v_clearwing2

The clearwing variety has very light wing markings and a bright body color.

Yellowface

Yellowface budgies are in between yellow-based budgies and white-based budgies. There are different degrees of the level of yellow pigment, less than the yellow-based variety. These different levels of yellow pigment are caused by several different genes. Visually, there are two types of yellow face: Type I and Type II. In type I yellowface budgies, the mask feathers are all yellow. The yellow may also show up in the peripheral tail feathers. The yellow is confined to these areas only and the budgie is normally colored in the body feathers. Type II yellowface budgies have yellow in the mask feathers and tail, just like the type I. However, after the first molt at 3 months of age, the yellow diffuses into the body color and creates a new color, depending on the original color. In the case of the sky blue variety, as seen below, the type II yellowface creates a seafoam green color, but in the type I yellowface the body color remains sky blue.

Basic Genetics:

Complicated!

v_yellowfaceI4

The yellowface type I variety has a bright yellow face but the yellow does not affect the body color or appear in the wing feathers.

v_yellowfaceII1

The yellowface type II variety has a bright yellow face. The yellow mixes with the body color and diffuses into the wing feathers as well.

Lutino/albino

Lutino/albino effectively erases all color and markings of a budgie, leaving only the base color (yellow or white). Lutino and albino are the same variety; they are just different names for the same variety in yellow-based budgies and white-based budgies. Lutinos are yellow based budgies,and are all yellow with red/pink eyes. Albinos are white-based budgies and are all white with red/pink eyes. There are two mutations which show up on the lutino/albino. Cinnamon causes the head and wing markings to show up in a light brown color, creating the lacewing variety. Yellowface causes the albino, normally all white, to show different degrees of pale yellow. These budgies are sometimes called creamino. If it is a yellowface type I the yellow will be restricted to the mask area. If it is a yellowface type II, all the albino's feathers will be a creamy off-yellow color. The cere of the male lutino/albino budgie does not change normally. Adult male lutinos/albinos have purple ceres. Adult female lutinos/albinos have the normal white/tan/brown ceres.

Basic Genetics:

Sex-linked (on the Z chromosome)

Lutino/albino (ino) is a sex-linked mutation. This means that the gene is located on the Z-chromosome. Male budgies have two Z-chromosomes (ZZ) and female budgies have a Z-chromosome and a W-chromosome (ZW). Since the gene is recessive to normal, male budgies must have two ino genes (one on each Z-chromosome) to be an ino variety. However, since female budgies have only one Z-chromosome, if their Z-chromosome has the ino gene, they will be the ino variety. It is because females need only one gene to express the trait that sex-linked mutations such as ino are more common in female budgies. Here, we will represent the ino gene on the Z-chromosome as "Zi" and the Z-chromosome with the normal gene as "Z". There are three genotype possibilities for a male budgie:

  • ZZ - Two normal genes resulting in a normal male budgie.
  • ZZi - One normal gene and one ino gene resulting in a normal male budgie that is split for ino.
  • ZiZi - Two ino genes resulting in an ino male budgie.
v_lutino3

And there are two genotype possibilities for a female budgie:

  • ZW - A normal gene resulting in a normal female budgie.
  • ZiW - An ino gene resulting in an ino female budgie.

Below are some punnet square examples of pairings. As you will see, if your goal is to breed a sex-linked mutation like ino, besides breeding two visually ino budgies, the best results will be from the pairing of a male who is split for ino to an ino female.

A normal male budgie and an ino female budgie
ZZ x ZiW

Z
Z
Zi
ZZi
ZZi
W
ZW
ZW

Offspring Phenotype Results:
Males: 100% Normal
Females: 100% Normal

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Male split for ino (ZZi)
50% Female normal (ZW)

An ino male budgie and a normal female budgie
ZiZi x ZW

Zi
Zi
Z
ZZi
ZZi
W
ZiW
ZiW

Offspring Phenotype Results:
Males: 100% Normal
Females: 100% Ino

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Male split for ino (ZZi)
50% Female ino (ZiW)

A male split for ino budgie and a normal female
ZZi x ZW

Z
Zi
Z
ZZ
ZZi
W
ZW
ZiW

Offspring Phenotype Results:
Males: 100% Normal
Females: 50% Ino, 50% Normal

Offspring Genotype Results:
25% Male normal (ZZ)
25% Male split for ino (ZZi)
25% Female normal (ZW)
25% Female ino (ZiW)

A male split for ino and a female ino budgie
ZZi x ZiW

Z
Zi
Zi
ZZi
ZiZi
W
ZW
ZiW

Offspring Phenotype Results:
Males: 50% Ino, 50% Normal
Females: 50% Ino, 50% Normal

Offspring Genotype Results:
25% Male split for ino (ZZi)
25% Male ino (ZiZi)
25% Female normal (ZW)
25% Female ino (ZiW)

The lutino variety is all yellow with red eyes.

v_albino1

The albino variety is all white with red eyes.

v_yellowfaceino1
v_yellowfaceino2
v_yellowfaceino3
v_yellowfaceino4

Yellowface shows up with varying shades of yellow (depending on the yellowface genetics of the budgie) in the ino variety. These are sometimes called creamino.

Striping Pattern Mutations

Opaline

Opaline is a striping pattern mutation. It reverses the striping pattern on the head feathers so that there are thicker white areas and thinner black stripes. Another feature which adds to the beauty of this mutation is that the body feather color runs through the stripes on the back of the neck and down through the wing feathers. Opaline budgies' tails are characteristically patterned with light and colored areas running down the tail feather.

Basic Genetics:

Sex-linked (on the Z chromosome)

Opaline is a sex-linked mutation. This means that the gene is located on the Z-chromosome. Male budgies have two Z-chromosomes (ZZ) and female budgies have a Z-chromosome and a W-chromosome (ZW). Since the gene is recessive to normal, male budgies must have two opaline genes (one on each x-chromosome) to be an opaline variety. 

However, since female budgies have only one Z-chromosome, if their Z-chromosome has the opaline gene, they will be the opaline variety. It is because females need only one gene to express the trait that sex-linked mutations such as opaline are more common in female budgies. 

v_opaline1

Here, we will represent the opaline gene on the Z-chromosome as "Zo" and the Z-chromosome with the normal gene as "Z". There are three genotype possibilities for a male budgie:

  • ZZ - Two normal genes resulting in a normal male budgie.
  • ZZo - One normal gene and one opaline gene resulting in a normal male budgie that is split for opaline.
  • ZoZo - Two opaline genes resulting in an opaline male budgie.

And there are two genotype possibilities for a female budgie:

  • ZW - A normal gene resulting in a normal female budgie.
  • ZoW - An opaline gene resulting in an opaline female budgie.

Below are some punnet square examples of pairings. As you will see, if your goal is to breed a sex-linked mutation like opaline, besides breeding two visually opaline budgies, the best results will be from the pairing of a male who is split for opaline to an opaline female.

A normal male budgie and an opaline female budgie
ZZ x ZoW

Z
Z
Zo
ZZo
ZZo
W
ZW
ZW

Offspring Phenotype Results:
Males: 100% Normal
Females: 100% Normal

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Male split for opaline (ZZo)
50% Female normal (ZW)

An opaline male budgie and a normal female budgie
ZoZo x ZW

Zo
Zo
Z
ZZo
ZZo
W
ZoW
ZoW

Offspring Phenotype Results:
Males: 100% Normal
Females: 100% Opaline

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Male split for opaline (ZZo)
50% Female opaline (ZoW)

A male split for opaline budgie and a normal female
ZZo x ZW

Z
Zo
Z
ZZ
ZZo
W
ZW
ZoW

Offspring Phenotype Results:
Males: 100% Normal
Females: 50% Opaline, 50% Normal

Offspring Genotype Results:
25% Male normal (ZZ)
25% Male split for oplaine (ZZo)
25% Female normal (ZW)
25% Female opaline (ZoW)

A male split for opaline and a female opaline budgie
ZZo x ZoW

Z
Zo
Zo
ZZo
ZoZo
W
ZW
ZoW

Offspring Phenotype Results:
Males: 50% Opaline, 50% Normal
Females: 50% Opaline, 50% Normal

Offspring Genotype Results:
25% Male split for opaline (ZZo)
25% Male opaline (ZoZo)
25% Female normal (ZW)
25% Female opaline (ZoW)

v_opaline5
v_opaline3

The opaline variety has reversed markings on the head, compared to the normally striped budgie seen below.

Spangle

Spangle causes the markings on the wings and tail to be reversed. On the wings, instead of the normal black feathers with white edges creating the normal striping pattern, the feathers are mostly clear (yellow or white) with a thin black stripe at the edge. Sometimes the spangle mutation causes a little bit of the body color to show up between the stripes on the back of the head. Unlike the opaline, spangle does not cause the body colors to spread throughout the feathers of the neck and wings. However a budgie can be both spangle and opaline, causing a unique pattern of color dissipating through the wings.

Genetically double-factor spangles are all yellow or all white (depending on base color). You can tell a budgie is double-factor spangle because its irises lighten normally with age. Comparatively, lutinos/albinos have red eyes and dark-eyed clears have dark plum eyes throughout their lives.

Basic Genetics:

Spangle - dominant
Normal - recessive

There are only two alleles for spangle: the spangle gene and the normal gene. The spangle gene is semi-dominant to the recessive normal gene. This means that a single-factor spangle looks different from the double-factor spangle. Here, we will represent the spangle gene as "S" and the normal gene as "s". Therefore there are three possible genetic combinations for any budgie:

  • ss - Two normal genes (homozygous) resulting in a normal budgie.
  • Ss - One spangle gene and one normal gene (heterozygous) resulting in a spangled budgie.
  • SS - Two spangle genes (homozygous) resulting in a double-factor spangle budgie, which has no markings or color.
v_spangle7

As you can see, it is only when one spangle gene and one normal gene is present that a budgie is the actual spangle variety. When two spangle genes are present the budgie has no markings or color, and looks like a lutino/albino except for the red eyes. Below are some punnet square examples of pairings.

A normal budgie and a spangle budgie
ssXSs

s
s
S
Ss
Ss
s
ss
ss

Offspring Phenotype Results:
50% Spangle
50% Normal

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Heterozygous (Ss)
50% Homozygous recessive (ss)

A normal budgie and a double-factor spangle budgie
ssXSS

s
s
S
Ss
Ss
S
Ss
Ss

Offspring Phenotype Results:
100% Spangle

Offspring Genotype Results:
100% Heterozygous (Ss)

Two spangle budgies
SsXSs

S
s
S
SS
Ss
s
Ss
ss

Offspring Phenotype Results:
25% Double-Factor Spangle
50% Spangle
25% Normal

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Heterozygous (Ss)
25% Homozygous dominant (SS)
25% Homozygous recessive (ss)

A spangle budgie and a double-factor spangle budgie
SsXSS

S
s
S
SS
Ss
S
SS
Ss

Offspring Phenotype Results:
50% Double-Factor Spangle 50% Spangle

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Homozygous dominant (SS)
50% Heterozygous (Ss)

v_spangle1
v_spangle6

The wing markings of the spangle variety are reversed: they are mostly white with thin black stripes along the edges. Compare to the normal budgie seen below.

v_spangleop2
v_spangleop1

A spangle budgie that is also opaline will have a pattern of color through the wings.

v_dfspangle3

photo courtesy of Barrie Shutt

A genetically double-factor spangle budgie is all clear (all yellow or all white) with normal eyes (black with light irises at maturity).

Cinnamon

Cinnamon causes the normally black markings of the head and wings to turn brown. The cinnamon mutation does not affect the color of the body feathers​​​​, but sometimes can give them a cinnamony tinge.

Basic Genetics:

Sex-linked (on the Z chromosome)

Cinnamon is a sex-linked mutation. This means that the gene is located on the Z-chromosome. Male budgies have two Z-chromosomes (ZZ) and female budgies have a Z-chromosome and a W-chromosome (ZW). Since the gene is recessive to normal, male budgies must have two cinnamon genes (one on each Z-chromosome) to be a cinnamon variety. However, since female budgies have only one Z-chromosome, if their Z-chromosome has the cinnamon gene, they will be the cinnamon variety. It is because females need only one gene to express the trait that sex-linked mutations such as cinnamon are more common in female budgies. Here, we will represent the cinnamon gene on the Z-chromosome as "Zc" and the Z-chromosome with the normal gene as "Z". There are three genotype possibilities for a male budgie:

  • ZZ - Two normal genes resulting in a normal male budgie.
  • ZZc - One normal gene and one cinnamon gene resulting in a normal male budgie that is split for cinnamon.
  • ZcZc - Two cinnamon genes resulting in a cinnamon male budgie.

And there are two genotype possibilities for a female budgie:

  • ZW - A normal gene resulting in a normal female budgie.
  • ZcW - A cinnamon gene resulting in a cinnamon female budgie.

Below are some punnet square examples of pairings. As you will see, if your goal is to breed a sex-linked mutation like cinnamon, besides breeding two visually cinnamon budgies, the best results will be from the pairing of a male who is split for cinnamon to a cinnamon female.

A normal male budgie and a cinnamon female budgie
ZZ x ZcW

Z
Z
Zc
ZZc
ZZc
W
ZW
ZW

Offspring Phenotype Results:
Males: 100% Normal
Females: 100% Normal

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Male split for cinnamon (ZZc)
50% Female normal (ZW)

A cinnamon male budgie and a normal female budgie
ZcZc x ZW

Zc
Zc
Z
ZZc
ZZc
W
ZcW
ZcW

Offspring Phenotype Results:
Males: 100% Normal
Females: 100% Cinnamon

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Male split for cinnamon (ZZc)
50% Female cinnamon (ZcW)

A male split for cinnamon budgie and a normal female
ZZc x ZW

Z
Zc
Z
ZZ
ZZc
W
ZW
ZcW

Offspring Phenotype Results:
Males: 100% Normal
Females: 50% Cinnamon, 50% Normal

Offspring Genotype Results:
25% Male normal (ZZ)
25% Male split for cinnamon (ZZc)
25% Female normal (ZW)
25% Female cinnamon (ZcW)

A male split for cinnamon and a female cinnamon budgie
ZZc x ZcW

Z
Zc
Zc
ZZc
ZcZc
W
ZW
ZcW

Offspring Phenotype Results:
Males: 50% Cinnamon, 50% Normal
Females: 50% Cinnamon, 50% Normal

Offspring Genotype Results:
25% Male split for cinnamon (ZZc)
25% Male cinnamon (ZcZc)
25% Female normal (ZW)
25% Female cinnamon (ZcW)

v_cinnamon3
v_cinnamon7

The cinnamon variety has brown markings on the head and wings instead of black.

Pied Mutations

Dominant Pied

Dominant pied budgies usually have a distinct pattern. There is always a band of clear body feathers​​​​ across the lower-mid belly. This band can be very small to very large, encompassing almost the entire belly area. This band can also sometimes be irregular, not forming a complete band across the belly. There is also a band of clear feathers across the bottom of the wings. This band can be restricted to the very lower wing feathers or cover almost the entire wing area. Dominant pieds also always have a patch of clear feathers on the back of the head, usually about the size of a dime.

Genetically double-factor dominant pieds are different from the usual described above. Double-factor dominant pieds have very little markings; most of their feathers are clear. You can see examples of this below.

The irises of a dominant pied budgie turn light with maturity. This is a key factor in telling the difference between a dominant pied and a recessive pied, since recessive pieds' eyes stay a dark plum color throughout their life.

Basic Genetics:

Dominant Pied - dominant
Normal - recessive

There are only two alleles for dominant pied: the normal gene and the dominant pied gene. The dominant pied gene is semi-dominant to the recessive normal gene. This means that a single-factor dominant pied looks different from the double-factor dominant pied. A single-factor dominant pied, the classic dominant pied, usually has the standard markings with the band across the tummy and bottom of the wings. A double-factor dominant pied's clear areas are extended, leaving a budgie with more clear areas than those that are left normally marked. Here, we will represent the dominant pied gene as "T" and the normal gene as "t". Therefore there are three possible genetic combinations for any budgie:

  • tt - Two normal genes (homozygous) resulting in a normal budgie.
  • Tt - One dominant pied gene and one normal gene (heterozygous) resulting in a single-factor dominant pied with the standard dominant pied markings.
  • TT - Two dominant pied genes (homozygous) resulting in a double-factor dominant pied budgie, with few normal markings.
v_dominantpied5

As you can see, it only takes one dominant pied gene for a budgie to display the dominant pied traits. This makes this is an easy variety to breed. Below are some punnet square examples of pairings.

A normal budgie and a single-factor dominant pied
ttXTt

t
t
T
Tt
Tt
t
tt
tt

Offspring Phenotype Results:
50% Dominant Pied
50% Normal

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Heterozygous (Tt)
50% Homozygous recessive (tt)

A normal budgie and a double-factor dominant pied
ttXTT

t
t
T
Tt
Tt
T
Tt
Tt

Offspring Phenotype Results:
100% Dominant Pied

Offspring Genotype Results:
100% Heterozygous (Tt)

Two single-factor dominant pieds
TtXTt

T
t
T
TT
Tt
t
Tt
tt

Offspring Phenotype Results:
25% Double-Factor Dominant Pied
50% Dominant Pied
25% Normal

Offspring Genotype Results:
25% Homozygous dominant (TT)
50% Heterozygous (Tt)
25% Homozygous recessive (tt)

A single factor dominant pied budgie and a double factor dominant pied budgie
TtXTT

T
t
T
TT
Tt
T
TT
Tt

Offspring Phenotype Results:
50% Double-Factor Dominant Pied
50% Dominant Pied

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Homozygous dominant (TT)
50% Heterozygous (Tt)

v_dominantpied1

The dominant pied variety has a clear zone across the bottom of the wings.

v_dominantpied2

The band across the dominant pied's wings and belly can be very large.

v_dominantpied3

The band across the dominant pied's wings and belly can also be very small.

v_dominantpied8
v_dominantpied7
v_dominantpied4
v_dominantpied6

The clear band on a dominant pied can be an irregular pattern, as seen on the budgies above.

v_dominantpied4
v_dominantpied6

These budgies are genetically double-factor dominant pieds. They are almost all clear.

Recessive Pied

Recessive pied budgies have, in general, mostly clear feathers on all areas except the rump, which remains the original body color. In general there is a patch of normally colored body feathers near the bottom of the belly, with the rest of the body feathers being clear. Where there are marked feathers on the wings, these feathers are half clear near the top. The wings can have anywhere from a lot to very little marked feathers. The feathers on the head are mostly clear except sometimes for patches near the eyes and top of the head.
The recessive pied budgie's eyes are dark plum colored and never lighten with age; they always stay dark. This is how you can be sure a pied is recessive pied, since the dominant pied's eyes lighten normally with maturity. The cere of the male recessive pied also does not change normally. Adult male recessive pieds have purple ceres. Adult female recessive pieds have the normal white/tan/brown ceres.

Basic Genetics:

Normal - dominant
Recessive Pied - recessive

There are only two alleles for recessive pied: the normal gene and the recessive pied gene. The normal gene is completely dominant to the recessive pied gene. Here, we will represent the normal gene as "R" and the recessive pied gene as "r". Therefore there are three possible genetic combinations for any budgie:

  • RR - Two normal genes (homozygous) resulting in a normal budgie.
  • Rr - One normal gene and one recessive pied gene (heterozygous) resulting in a normal budgie that is split for recessive pied.
  • rr - Two recessive pied genes (homozygous) resulting in a recessive pied budgie.
v_recessivepied6

A normal homozygous budgie and a recessive pied
RRXrr

R
R
r
Rr
Rr
r
Rr
Rr

Offspring Phenotype Results:
100% Normal

Offspring Genotype Results:
100% Heterozygous (Rr)

Two normal split for recessive pied budgies
RrXRr

R
r
R
RR
Rr
r
Rr
rr

Offspring Phenotype Results:
75% Normal
25% Recessive Pied

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Heterozygous (Rr)
25% Homozygous dominant (RR)
25% Homozygous recessive (rr)

A normal split for recessive pied budgie and a recessive pied budgie
RrXrr

R
r
r
Rr
rr
r
Rr
rr

Offspring Phenotype Results:
50% Normal
50% Recessive Pied

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Heterozygous (Rr)
50% Homozygous recessive (rr)

Two recessive pied budgies
rrXrr

r
r
r
rr
rr
r
rr
rr

Offspring Phenotype Results:
100% Recessive Pied

Offspring Genotype Results:
100% Homozygous recessive (rr)

v_recessivepied2

The recessive pied variety can have anywhere from a mottled splotch pattern of markings to almost no markings on the wings.

v_recessivepied3
v_recessivepied4

The recessive pied almost always has a patch of normally colored body feathers near the bottom of the belly.

Clearflight Pied

A budgie that is clearflight pied will have all clear flight feathers. Sometimes also the major coverts (row of feathers above the flight feathers) and/or the tail feathers will also be clear. Usually a clearflight pied will have some small patches of clear body feathers up around the neck. Clearflight pieds also have a patch of clear feathers on the back of the head.

Basic Genetics:

Clearflight Pied - dominant
Normal - recessive

The inheritance pattern of clearflight pied is the same as dominant pied. However, clearflight pied is unrelated to either dominant pied or recessive pied, and a budgie can have any combination of the three pieds at the same time. There are only two alleles for clearflight pied: the normal gene and the clearflight pied gene. The clearflight pied gene is completely dominant to the recessive normal gene. This means that a single-factor clearflight pied looks the same as the double-factor clearflight pied. Here, we will represent the clearflight pied gene as "P" and the normal gene as "p". Therefore there are three possible genetic combinations for any budgie:

  • pp - Two normal genes (homozygous) resulting in a normal budgie.
  • Pp - One clearflight pied gene and one normal gene (heterozygous) resulting in a visually clearflight pied budgie that is single-factor.
  • PP - Two clearflight pied genes (homozygous) resulting in a visually clearflight pied budgie that is double-factor.
v_clearflight4

As you can see, it only takes one clearflight pied gene for a budgie to display the clearflight pied traits. This makes this is an easy variety to breed. Below are some punnet square examples of pairings.

A normal budgie and a single-factor clearflight pied
ppXPp

p
p
P
Pp
Pp
p
Pp
Pp

Offspring Phenotype Results:
50% Clearflight Pied
50% Normal

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Heterozygous (Pp)
50% Homozygous recessive (pp)

A normal budgie and a double-factor clearflight pied
ppXPP

p
p
P
Pp
Pp
P
Pp
Pp

Offspring Phenotype Results:
100% Clearflight Pied

Offspring Genotype Results:
100% Heterozygous (Pp)

Two single-factor clearflight pieds
PpXPp

P
p
P
PP
Pp
p
Pp
pp

Offspring Phenotype Results:
75% Clearflight Pied
25% Normal

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Heterozygous (Pp)
25% Homozygous dominant (PP)
25% Homozygous recessive (pp)

A single factor clearflight pied budgie and a double factor clearflight pied budgie
PpXPP

P
p
P
PP
Pp
P
PP
Pp

Offspring Phenotype Results:
100% Clearflight Pied

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% Homozygous dominant (PP)
50% Heterozygous (Pp)

v_clearflight1
v_clearflight3

The clearflight pied variety has all clear flight feathers.

v_clearflight2

The clearflight pied variety also may have small patches of clear body feathers near the neck.

Dark-Eyed Clear

The dark-eyed clear is actually a combination of recessive pied and clearflight pied. When these two mutations are both present, the budgie is has no markings or color. It is either pure yellow (if it is a yellow-based budgie) or pure white (if it is a white-based budgie). The dark-eyed clear's dark eyes never lighten with age, hence the name.

You can tell a budgie is a dark-eyed clear because its eyes stay a dark plum color throughout its life. Comparatively, lutinos/albinos have red eyes and double-factor spangles have irises that lighten with maturity.

Also, the cere of the male dark-eyed clear does not change normally. Adult male dark-eyed clears have purple ceres. Adult female dark-eyed clears have the normal white/tan/brown ceres.

Basic Genetics:

Combination of recessive pied and clearflight pied

The dark-eyed clear variety is actually the result of the combination of two independent varieties: clearflight pied and recessive pied. Both the clearflight trait and recessive pied trait must be present in a budgie for it to be a dark-eyed clear. The clearflight pied gene is dominant, therefore a budgie with at least one clearflight gene will express the clearflight trait. The recessive pied gene is recessive, therefore a budgie must have two recessive pied genes to express the recessive pied trait. Here, we will represent the clearflight pied gene as "P" and the corresponding normal gene as "p". The recessive pied gene will be represented by "r" and the corresponding normal gene as "R". It is possible to determine what certain pairings will produce with respect to dark-eyed clears by learning the inheritance patterns of clearflight and recessive pied. However, since the dark-eyed clear is an intriguing variety that breeders may wish to try their hand at, below are some punnet square examples of pairings. Note: S-F is short for single-factor, D-F is short for double-factor, rec. stands for recessive, and DEC stands for dark-eyed clear.

Inheritance Patterns of both Clearflight Pied and Recessive Pied

A s-f clearflight pied budgie and a recessive pied budgie
PpRRXpprr

PR
PR
pR
pR
pr
PpRr
PpRr
ppRr
ppRr
pr
PpRr
PpRr
ppRr
ppRr
pr
PpRr
PpRr
ppRr
ppRr
pr
PpRr
PpRr
ppRr
ppRr

Offspring Phenotype Results:
50% Clearflight Pied
50% Normal

Offspring Genotype Results:
50% S-F clearflight, split for rec. pied (PpRr)
50% Normal, split for rec. pied (ppRr)

A s-f clearflight pied split for rec. pied budgie and a recessive pied budgie
PpRrXpprr

PR
Pr
pR
pr
pr
PpRr
Pprr
ppRr
pprr
pr
PpRr
Pprr
ppRr
pprr
pr
PpRr
Pprr
ppRr
pprr
pr
PpRr
Pprr
ppRr
pprr

Offspring Phenotype Results:
25% Clearflight Pied
25% Dark-Eyed Clear
25% Normal
25% Recessive Pied 

Offspring Genotype Results:
25% S-F clearflight, split for rec. pied (PpRr)
25% DEC with s-f clearflight (Pprr)
25% Normal, split for rec. pied (ppRr)
25% Recessive pied (pprr)

Two s-f clearflight pied budgies, both split for rec. pied
PpRrXPpRr

PR
Pr
pR
pr
PR
PPRR
PPRr
PpRR
v_dec1
v_dec4

The dark-eyed clear variety is all clear with plum eyes.

v_dec2

Rare Mutations

Crested

Crested is a unique mutation. In this variety, the feathers on the very top of the budgie's head point askew from normal, forming a crest. There are generally three types of crests. In the full-circular crest, the head feathers radiate in a full circle from a central point on the head, forming what may look like a Beatles haircut. In the half-circular crest, the feathers radiate from a central point only halfway or part way around the head. In the tufted crest, the feathers point up or backwards from the others near the front of the head, forming a tuft. There are also some variations of crested budgies where feathers on the back/wings grow askew and stick up.

Basic Genetics:

Complicated!

v_crest5
v_crest6

The crested variety has askew head feathers.

Fallow

There are several types of fallow varieties, but in general, the fallow's head, wing, and tail markings are brownish. The body color is gradually diluted and is most visible on the rump. The eyes are red (some varieties do not have a pink iris, others do) and the cere of the male fallow does not change normally. Adult male fallows have purple ceres. Adult female fallows have the normal white/tan/brown ceres. This is a very beautiful specialist variety and is only seen in exhibition budgies.

Basic Genetics:

Normal - dominant
Fallow - recessive

v_fallow2
v_fallow1

The fallow variety has brownish markings, diluted body color, and red eyes.

Saddleback

In the saddleback variety, the budgie's stripes are dark grey on the head and into the "V" shaped area of the shoulders and top of the wings. The markings gradually return to the normal black at the bottom of the wings. The head markings are sparse. This variety looks similar to an opaline, however, unlike the opaline, the body color does not appear on the head or wings of the saddleback. The rest of the budgie's color and markings remain normal. This variety first appeared in 1975 in Australia and is still very rare.

Basic Genetics:

Normal - dominant
Saddleback - recessive

v_saddleback4
v_saddleback5
v_saddleback1
v_saddleback3

The saddleback variety has sparse head markings. The markings of the wings are grey at the top and merge into the normal black color at the bottom.

Texas Clearbody

In the Texas clearbody variety, the color of the budgie's body feathers is diffused or absent, and the wing markings are dark at the top and fade to a light grey toward the tips of the wings. The standard for the Texas clearbody budgie is to have no color in the body feathers, leaving only yellow or white (depending, of course, if the budgie is yellow-based or white-based). The Texas clearbody can however, have some color in the body feathers of up to a 50% dilution. In this case the body feather color is stronger toward the vent and rump feathers.

Basic Genetics:

Normal - sex-linked (Z chromosome), dominant to Clearbody - sex-linked, dominant to
Ino - sex-linked recessive

v_txclearbody4
v_txclearbody1

These Texas clearbodies have clear body feathers and normal markings which fade to grey toward the wing tips. These Texas clearbodies are closer to the standard with no body color present.

v_txclearbody2
v_txclearbody3

Slate

Slate is a color-adding factor similar to grey and violet. Slate produces a very dark bluish grey in white-based budgies. The darkness of the slate varies slightly according to the dark factor of the bird. Slate, like violet, can be present in a green (yellow-based) budgie, but only produces a darkening effect. True slate only appears on blue (white-based) budgies. This variety is extremely rare.

Basic Genetics:

Sex-linked (on the Z chromosome)

v_slate1

photo courtesy of and copyright Didier Mervilde

v_slate2

photo courtesy of Ghalib Al-Nasser

The slate variety has a very dark grey-blue body color.

Anthracite

The anthracite budgie has a black (or very, very dark grey) body color. All other markings on the budgie are normal, except for the cheek patches, which are the same black as the body color. This variety is very new and was first established in Germany. This variety has been shown to be genetically semi-dominant. A single anthracite factor produces a darkening effect extremely similar to a single dark factor (producing cobalt). A budgie that is double-factor anthracite appears as the true anthracite with the black body color.

Basic Genetics:

Normal - recessive
Anthracite - semi-dominant

v_anthracite1

photo courtesy of Budgerigar World magazine

The anthracite variety has black body color and black cheek patches.

Blackface

Black face is a new mutation in which the black stripes (undulations) of the head extend all the way into the face and mask, as well as the body feathers. The blackface mutation also causes a darkening of the body color. This mutation is extremely rare and last known to only exist in the Netherlands.

Basic Genetics:

Normal - dominant
Blackface - recessive

v_blackface1
v_blackface2

The blackface variety's undulations extend into the mask and body feathers.

Mottled

The mottled variety is extremely unique. A mottled budgie is hatched looking like a normal budgie. With each progressive molt, more and more of the budgie's feathers grow back clear. The budgie starts to look somewhat like a pied only with a more random, mottled pattern of clear feathers than the established varieties of pied. The amount of mottling an individual budgie has varies. Some have more normally marked and colored feathers than clear ones. Others eventually become almost all clear.

Basic Genetics:

Unknown/undetermined

v_mottle1
v_mottle2

The mottled variety increasingly develops clear feathers with each molt.

Lacewing

Lacewing is a composite variety of lutino/albino and cinnamon. The budgie is mostly yellow (in yellow-based budgies) or mostly white (in white-based budgies). A suffusion of the body color is slightly visible in the body feathers. The markings of the head, wings, and tail show up as a light cinnamon color and the cheek patches are pale violet. The eyes are red/pink, and the cere of the male lacewing does not change normally. Adult male lacewings have purple ceres. Adult female lacewings have the normal white/tan/brown ceres. This variety is mostly only seen in exhibition budgies.

Basic Genetics:

See lutino/albino and cinnamon

v_lacewing2

photo courtesy of Ghalib Al-Nasser

v_lacewing3

photo credit Dolores Noonan's Budgerigars Galore

The lacewing variety is mostly yellow or white with light cinnamon markings and light violet cheek patches.

Half-Sider

The half-sider is actually not a true variety. The trait is not genetically inherited. Rather, it is a congenital condition. Visually, this budgie is split vertically, with the appearance and color of two distinct varieties appearing in splotches or sections divided by the vertical center line. I believe that this is a condition called tetragametic chimerism in which fraternal twin zygotes fuse at a very early stage in the womb, forming one individual with the tissues and DNA of both twins.

Basic Genetics:

NONE - This is a congenital condition

v_halfsider1
v_halfsider2

photo courtesty of Cagdas, creator of Kushane.com

The halfsider budgie has two different sets of genetic material.

Combinations

With all the different budgie mutations, the possible combinations are virtually limitless. Any individual budgie can have just about any combination of the mutations listed above. To see more photos of budgies with combinations of varieties.

v_combo1

sky blue, yellowface (type II), greywing, recessive pied

v_combo2


v_combo3

cobalt, yellowface (type II), opaline, clearflight pied