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A Bit About

* Budgies
* Budgie Genetics

Here we are at the budgie page.Glad you had time to stop by...We find for the size of this bird it is amazeing how much energy it has . Budgies are comical little birds much like small parrots with all there funny antics and they come in such a wide range of colours it is a great bird to learn about colour genetics.There are two types of budgerigars,one being the domestic or American and the other being the English show budgerigar.Both will breed in the same colours but the latter is a much larger bird.

Since budgerigars became domesticated throughout the world their colours have become varied in many shades and varieties. The original wild budgerigar known as a Light Green later developed Blues and varying shades of this colour. When they first became known as a popular pet during the 1920's, Greens formed the majority of the colour group. During the 1930's, when serious European fanciers developed the exhibition budgerigar, many cross-mutations were raised. Although we know the two main groups, Greens and Blues, other groups have been developed in various colours, both in the green and the blue series.


There are two forms of Pieds. The first being the Australian Dominant Pied. The pattern of this variety has two colours, both in the body and the wing, each being equal in proportion to each other. The Dominant Pied can only be bred by having one Dominant Pied in the mating. Babies produced from this variety can only be a Dominant Pied or a Normal budgerigar. Statistics show that in some groups of babies, Pieds will form the majority, yet in other groups where will be no evidence of Pieds whatsoever.

Unfortunately, when breeding Australian Dominant Pieds, 75% of the babies do not meet the standards required for this variety for exhibition. Their pattern of colour can be very striking, especially in the dark factor group. Being dominant, this variety has enabled the fancier to progress in size with the exhibition birds. One of the problems of the modern Australian Dominant Pied is that the colour in the body has become very irregular. This will have to be seriously dealt with in the near future, to prevent the bird reverting back to a normal.

Composite Australian Pieds e.g.,., Yellow-faced Opaline spangles, have presented a problem in the classification on the show bench, secondary to more than one colour and variety in the bird.

The second Pied in the variety, is the Danish and Dutch Recessive Pied, once know as the Harlequin, both in the USA and Europe. This variety has 75% of one colour e.g.,., yellow or white, throughout the bird; 20% being green or blue, with the remaining 5% black markings on the wing and head; hence the name Harlequin. This variety is recessive, therefore, birds bred can be split. Because this bird is recessive, it may appear as a normal. The distinguishing mark is a clear area at the back of the head, usually a quarter of an inch in radius. This bird, being paired back to a visual Recessive Pied, will produce Pieds in both male and female.

One disadvantage of this variety is, that not much progress has been made in size and shape of the exhibition budgerigar. During the last ten years, birds have been introduced from Europe which have been of a superior quality. Although birds of today show size and shape, most of the original patterns have become distorted.

If we pair a Clearflight/Recessive Pied to a Recessive Pied, we will produce a Dark-Eyed Clear. This is a bird of one colour throughout, with a black eye. The Recessive Pied has no iris ring in the eye as does the Australian Dominant Pied. If a Recessive Pied is paired to a Dominant Pied, then sometimes an odd-eyed Pied will be produced. This is a bird with one eye clear and one eye with an iris ring.


This bird has been rated as one of the most beautiful of the budgerigars. Due to the light wings and dark colour of the body, the contrast is very striking when bred in the dark factor group. As Clearwings are recessive, most birds will produce either dark or light babies. One of the problems of this variety is, that unless the fancier knows the background of his or her birds, then suffused or diluted babies will be produced. As in all forms of budgerigar, there are light, medium and dark in all colours. If two birds of the light group are paired together, then very weak-coloured birds will be produced. If two dark-coloured birds are paired together, then the bird is known as a double factor Clearwing. The most significant problem of this dark group is in the wings, especially the flights, when they show the undesired grey colour, both in the Greens and the Blues. It is easy to tell light, medium and dark by the cheek patch and the tail colour, which easily show the degree or density of colour.

The Clearwing has become a very popular variety, especially in the UK, and now is finding its place on the USA show bench. Most fanciers have introduced other mutations into the Clearwing, e.g.,., Yellows and Grey Whites. This, unfortunately, has weakened the body colour, but kept the wings light. Some fanciers have introduced normal budgerigars. This has had the opposite effect, where the wings have become dark along with the body. The top Clearwing breeders usually select the best of the variety with an emphasis on contrast, while still maintaining a good exhibition budgerigar.

The Australian Clearwings have shown excellent clear wings, but their size has left a lot to be desired. In the most recent years, good exhibition Clearwings had been exported into Australia to rectify this problem.


The original citing of this spectacular mutation appeared in New Zealand and then in Australia. Leading Australian expert, John Scoble has commented that this variety may be related to the Recessive Pied.

It is amazing that in the USA, a variety known as the Clearbody shows similar characteristics, especially when young, to the Spangle. On close observation, the flights and the tail show a reversal of colour pattern, e.g.,., white with black edging or yellow with black edging, depending on the green series or the blue series. The area of the bird which the Spangle derived its name from, is the shell feathers or semi-circular feathers from the secondary area to the wing butt. Close observation of these feathers show that they are not edged with black as some people believed, but the black remains as per a normal bird. The absence of the grey area in this feather, makes the Spangle appear to have a black edge on each feather. Since the early 1970's, when the spangle first came to the UK, from the 6 -8 specimens that arrived, there have been thousands of Spangles bred and exhibited.

The amazing thing about this variety is that its fertility is exceptional in relation to all other varieties of budgerigar. The one significant point that has been noted, is that along with their exceptional fertility, the variety has also had the most success in progressing the exhibition quality in size and shape over all other varieties of the budgerigar.

As with the Pieds, fanciers have developed multi-variety birds, e.g.,., Yellow-faced Spangles and Dominant Cinnamon Pieds. One of the most striking of all the budgerigars is the Yellow-faced Violet Spangle. We don't know why the Spangle has increased the depth of colour in the birds, but it certainly has enhanced the group known as dark factor birds.

Other Mutations

Briefly, in this group, they are the Lacewings, a one-colour yellow or blue bird with edging of Cinnamon on the wings. The German Fallow and the English Fallow; both have pink eyes with a normal wing pattern in Cinnamon of a soft nature. Rainbows are, as the name implies, a multi-coloured bird. The definition being a Yellow-faced Opaline Whitewing Blue. Albinos and Lutinos are also mutations. They are Ino birds of one colour with pink eyes, devoid of any melanin in their makeup. A Lutino or Albino can be a Pied, Opaline, Normal or Cinnamon. It is very important to know this when pairing the birds together. For example, if we pair two Cinnamon Albinos together, there will be a significant area of brown appearing on the wings. To obtain the best depth of colour in Lutinos, we pair Opaline Lutino to Opaline Lutino, as the ground colour in Opalines is the same throughout. If we use green birds to breed split Lutinos, then unfortunately, a green sheen will appear on the body.

There are many specialist variety organizations covering all the mutations described. It is my advice to anyone contemplating breeding mutations to contact The Budgerigar Society for further information.

Editor's Note: This article was produced from the transcript of a seminar given in Canada. A slide show was also given in conjunction with the seminar which would have pictorially explained some of the points made here.

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