The Albino Cockatiel is not actually albino, and it has been said that a better name would be White-Faced Lutino Cockatiel. It is a combination of a Lutino Cockatiel and a White-Faced Cockatiel. The Lutino has red eyes, white to pale yellow feathers, and orange patches on its cheeks and the White-Faced Cockatiel is grey with a white or light gray face. Both the Lutino and the White-Face are mutations, which makes the Albino Cockatiel a double mutation.
|Scientific Name:||Nymphicus hollandicus|
|Adult Size:||12 to 13 inches|
|Life Expectancy:||~15 years|
Origin and History
There isn’t much information available on how the Albino Cockatiel originated. The “normal grey” Cockatiel has been bred for a variety of color mutations since the 1940s, and the Lutino was the second color mutation introduced in the United States. The White-Faced Cockatiel made its first appearance in 1964 and is a common mutation today.
Breeding the White-Faced and Lutino together is what gives the Albino Cockatiel it’s unique appearance. The Lutino gene removes the grey and black color of the White-Faced and adds the red eyes, and the White-Faced gene eliminates all of the orange and yellow coloring of the Lutino. In the end, you have an all-white bird with red eyes, which is not a true albino but has been given the name, nonetheless.
Cockatiels are very social birds that love to spend time with their family and other Cockatiels. They are playful and full of energy and can be trained to do a few tricks and respond to hand gestures. They are able to talk but not as extensively as most parrots. They whistle and may serenade you as a way of showing affection.
The Cockatiel has been a popular pet for a long time because they are docile and have great personalities. Female Cockatiels tend to be quieter than males and are usually a little more sweet-natured and calmer. They enjoy being held and petted and want to spend as much time as possible with you and show you how happy they are to see you. Because they are very social, they will do better with another Cockatiel if you aren’t home often. If your Cockatiel is well-socialized, you can expect a very friendly, docile, and gentle bird.
Speech & Vocalizations
Cockatiels are able to talk but only at a minimum level. They can also mimic some noises outside and inside the house, such as other birds or phones and alarm clocks. They are known to whistle and chirp when they feel happy, but they are also prone to a variety of different sounds depending on the situation.
Cockatiels will scream if they are startled or sense danger but also if they are bored or lonely. They sometimes will hiss if they are trying to intimidate you or another bird and are likely to follow a hiss with a bite. Think of it as a warning system.
Albino Cockatiel Colors and Markings
The Albino Cockatiel is a pure white bird with red eyes, but the female can have tail barring (a type of color pattern) on the underside of her tail. If the Cockatiel is all white but has dark eyes, it is probably the Clear Pied Cockatiel (also called the Dark-Eyed Clear).
Caring for the Albino Cockatiel
Cockatiels need to take frequent baths as they tend to produce excess powder or “feather dust.” Offering a bowl of room temperature or cool water two or three times a week for your Cockatiel to bathe in will help remove the powder or you can mist your Cockatiel with a spray bottle.
This is a controversial practice, but in some households, it may prove necessary. If you have children or lots of activity in your home with external doors being opened a lot of the time, it may prove to be safer to clip your Cockatiel’s wings.
However, keep in mind that this practice can also put your bird in danger as it won’t be able to fly to safety in dangerous situations (such as other pets or getting stepped on). Flying also gives them great exercise. If you determine that your Cockatiel will be safest with getting its wing’s trimmed, take it to your veterinarian and have it done professionally, or you run the risk of injuring your bird.
Trimming Nails and Beak
Both the beak and the nails grow continuously, and you may need to trim both unless you provide a cement perch that can help keep the nails trimmed naturally. Do take your Cockatiel to a vet to have its beak professionally trimmed.
As already mentioned, the Cockatiel is a very social bird that will need another bird of the same sex to keep it company if you spend time away from home. If you are home a lot of the time, owning a single Cockatiel will be fine. Time should be spent with your Cockatiel every day, or it may develop self-destructive behavior.
Common Health Problems
If you notice your Cockatiel with any of the following symptoms, take it to your vet as soon as possible:
Diet and Nutrition
Feeding your Cockatiel will include seeds, fruit, vegetables, and legumes. Seeds tend to be the food of choice for most Cockatiels, but too much high-fat seeds can lead to obesity and health problems (see the fatty liver disease above).
Pellets are considered ideal for your Cockatiels diet, but if your Cockatiel is older, it could take months to wean it off seeds and on to pellets. Pellets should make up 75–80% of your bird’s diet, with fruit and vegetables making up the rest of the 20–25%.
Avoid avocados as they are toxic, and avoid any food that is made for humans.
You should plan on letting your Cockatiel out to fly for about 1 hour every day, which will not only help with exercise but will allow for the all-important socialization. If your Cockatiel is going to spend most of its time in a cage, ensure you find a cage large enough for it to fly in.
Provide toys, perches, and ladders as ways to keep your Cockatiel entertained but do be sure that they don’t take over too much cage space.
Where to Adopt or Buy an Albino Cockatiel
The Albino Cockatiel is rarer than many of the other color mutations, so it will be more expensive and harder to find. You can seek out breeders of Cockatiels in your area and speak to them about finding an Albino Cockatiel. You can check your local pet store (smaller independent pet stores are usually better than the larger national ones) and any bird rescues. If you do find one through a breeder, you should expect to pay about $300 to $400 for an Albino.
The Albino Cockatiel is a beautiful and unique looking bird that will make a fantastic pet for a new or experienced bird owner. Be sure to do lots of research into the Cockatiel itself and everything you will need before bringing one into your home. These birds will suit anyone looking for a loving and amusing pet that will need a lot of attention but will provide you with entertainment and companionship.
Featured image credit: Gary_Ellis_Photography, Shutterstock