Cockatiel Mutations

What sex is my bird?

This is not a gender guide (see link above for that). Some mutations are impossible to sex visually (like pied). I list the gender only F.Y.I. In many cases these birds were sexed by behavior.


Body is grey with white on wings and yellow cheek patches. Hens and juveniles have yellow barring on the tail. Hens may also have slight yellow flecking on head. Males lose tail barring and get a yellow head.
Normal hen, Melonie Normal juvenile, Igor


Muting of all hues. Grey areas often turn cinnamon in color. Note the difference between Ralphie (whiteface) and Linus (below).
Cinnamon whiteface pearl male, Linus


Body is covered with a unique pattern of spots. Females retain pearls throughout their lives. Males lose most pearls with their first molt. Eventually they will lose all of them until they look just like normals. Note the pics of Ralphie (whiteface) and Linus (cinnamon) below. Both males have the solid head color and are losing their pearls.
Two pearl hens Pearl hen


No yellow pigments produced. All yellow and orange areas now white.
Whiteface pearl male, Ralphie


Loss of pigmentation on random sections of the body, showing up as alternating light and dark.
Pied male, Alex Cinnamon pied hen


No black pigment produced. Red eyes. Bird appears white/yellow with typical orange cheek patch.
Lutino female.


No pigments produced. Red eyes. Bird is solid white.
Albino pair.  Pic by Pam Bowman.


Cheekpatches are yellow rather than orange. Note the drastic difference in cheek coloration below.
Silver pearl tiels (bird on right is yellowcheek).  Pic by Pam Bowman.

Feisty Feathers
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Thanks to Pam Bowman for the nice tiel pics! Articles and images contained on this site are 1997-2002 by Karen Trinkaus unless otherwise noted and may not be reprinted or used in any way without the author's permission.