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9 Types of Cockatiel Varieties & Color Mutations

Nicole Cosgrove

Pigments are responsible for producing color on Cockatiels. Melanin pigments produce the darker colors such as blue and grey. Lighter colors like yellow and orange are produced with the help of carotenoid pigments. Cockatiel mutations occur when a pigment gene is changed in some way or muted altogether. Pigment mutations can be passed down from generation to generation, making it possible for breeders to create specific colors and designs when producing Cockatiels for sale. Here are 9 cockatiel colors and mutations that you should be aware of:divider-birds

The 9 Cockatiel Varieties & Colors

1. Gray Cockatiel

gray cockatiel-pixabay
Credit: ariesa66, Pixabay

Gray cockatiels are considered “normal” parrots because they do not display any pigment gene mutations. Their bodies are grey with white markings on their wings and tails. They typically display orange patches on their cheeks too. Female adults develop yellow specks on the head when fully grown, while the males tend to develop completely yellow heads. This is one of the most common cockatiel colors.

2. Yellowface Cockatiel

Credit: Joshua_Willson, Pixabay

These cockatiels are a lot like the “normal” grey ones, but the patches on their cheeks are yellow instead of orange. They may also feature yellow feathering on the top of the head. But their bodies should be grey and white with color mutations displaying nowhere but on the head.

3. Whiteface Cockatiel

Credit: SimonaR, Pixabay

These birds retain their grey and white bodies like the Yellowface, and Grey (normal) do, but they do not have any color yellow or orange color markings on their cheeks. Adult males feature white heads, sometimes with grey markings. Females usually have a completely grey face.

4. Pearl Cockatiel

Pearl Cockatiel preening
Image Credit: YK, Shutterstock

Pearl cockatiels are unique in that they display a series of spots on their bodies, wings, and heads. These spots are referred to as pearls, hence their names. Pearl spots are typically white. These cockatiels typically have orange cheeks and sometimes show light yellow coloring on the face.

5. Silver Cockatiel

Credit: ingeborgkraka, Pixabay

These cockatiels carry multiple pigment gene mutations that affect their originally gray coloring. Their mutations make their grey feathers look silvery. They do have some white markings on the wing and tail feathers. Their cheeks are usually yellow or orange and their head feathers tend to take on a yellow hue.

6. Fallow Cockatiel

Fallow or cinnamon cockatiels have a yellowish-brown body that looks muted or dull. They may still show some grey coloring on the wings and underside. Their eyes may display a slight red hue, and their white heads may display some yellow coloring.

7. Pied Cockatiel

These cockatiels feature random white patches on their bodies where pigmentation has been completely muted. These white patches can be any shape or size, and they can be positioned anywhere on the body. Therefore, no Pied cockatiels ever look exactly the same. The Pied cockatiel does have orange cheeks and yellow top feathers too.

8. Lutino Cockatiel

Lutino cockatiel_Nicky Jacobs_shutterstock
Credit: Nicky Jacobs, Shutterstock

The Lutino cockatiel produces no melanin and therefore produces no grey coloring. This cockatiel color has their bodies typically all white, but they sometimes feature light yellow coloring around the wings. Their cheeks are orange, their eyes are red, and their faces usually feature a yellow hue.

9. Blue Cockatiel

blue White cockatiel_ONGUSHI_shutterstock
Credit: ONGUSHI, Shutterstock

Blue Cockatiels are white all over, but they feature black wing markings and blue coloring on their tails. They do not have any colored patches on their cheeks, and they usually do not display yellow coloring on the head as many other cockatiel variations do. These birds are considered one of the rarest types of a cockatiel in captivity.

Related Read: How to Tell the Age of a Cockatiel (with Pictures)

divider-birdOur Final Thoughts

There are lots of different cockatiel colors and mutations to choose from when buying a cockatiel! It is important to remember that no matter the color or mutation variation a cockatiel has, every one of them is the same species and have the same health and care needs over time. So, you do not need to learn anything special about the particular color cockatiel you want. Just make sure that you understand how to properly care for cockatiels in general. Which cockatiel color or mutation is your favorite? We want to hear from you in our comments section that can be found down below.

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Featured image credit: Didgeman, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.