Mutations 1



Primary mutations  

Several colour mutations appear under varying degrees of dilution from one to another and also retain a red dark eye in adults, which, altogether with the naturally brown melanin does not help in identification.
Overall the various names used in different countries make it harder. I will try to help by giving the different names for each mutation. Thanks to the Mutavi’s investigation and work, an international team of specialists involved in genetics is trying to establish an internationally agreed system for naming colour morphs for all the Psittacidae. It is more based on genetics and feather structure than on visual colour, even if it can seem a bit disturbing when you start with, it is probably the best way to achieve an international naming system.

I will try to summarize the present knowledge and will type in capital letters the name used in France, in italics the English and or Dutch names and in pink letters the Mutavi’s name.



Among the colour mutations with a melanin reduction, the FALLOW mutation (always autosomal recessive) can appear under different degrees of reduction in pigment, which results in four possible types regarding to the melanin appearance: grey, grey-brown, brown or pale brown.Two of them are identified in Bourkes. Both having autosomal recessive inheritance of course.

May 2004

Following MUTAVI research to standardize the names at an international level :
the Bourke's mutation formerly named  "yellow" is called now "pale fallow"



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photos Alain Campagne

A light reduction of the melanin into dark brown, slightly more reduced in females, usually called FALLOW in Europe, classified under BRONZE FALLOW in the international system. The eyes are dark red, the bill is horn and brown colour, legs pink and nails light brown. It looks slightly paler with less contrasting colours than  the wild type,  females being less coloured than males.


A palfal1.jpg


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photos Alain Campagne

When there is a stronger reduction of melanin into light brown with a lightening of the general colour enhancing the yellow  cream colour, specially in females which appear usually more yellow than the males (but with variations from one to another), the wing coverts being finely light edged, that is what is named YELLOW in French, CREAM in English, GELB in German. It is a Fallow more reduced in pigment than the previous one and accurately classified under PALE FALLOW ( more or less yellow). The pink and the blue areas are lighter, cheeks are dusky white, eyes are red, bill, legs and nails light horn colour or pinkish.


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photo Alain Campagne

With a reduced quantity of eumelanin which appears more brown with some dark grey tinge, the general colour being paler, the eyes are dark, legs greyish, that is a DILUTE mutation , sometimes named PASTEL, in fact classified under DILUTE name with an autosomal recessive inheritance

1° Isabel was used formerly for any mutation with light pigment reduction, keeping close to the wild colour, that mutation seems extinct now, at least in France . But generally speaking the name Isabel should be avoided in Psittacidae species as it concerns the phaeomelanine pigment which is not found in the Psittacidae.
2° Pastel should be used for a mutation with 50% reduction of melanine all over the body.


205 spl.jpg


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The SPANGLE mutation appeared around twenty years ago, introduced in the CDE magazine in 1997 under "Greywings" name (but that name should be used only for a specific autosomal recessive mutation in the Budgerigar), called then SPANGLE (gezoomd, gesäumt), it is established in Europe but rarely bred, from different breeders it is known as being autosomal recessive inherited, but in the other species the spangle mutation is dominant. It appears now as being an EDGED DILUTE récessive mutation.





photos Athol  Shelton (Australia)
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The PIED mutation  exists at least in Australia nowaydays, named « RECESSIVE PIED ». It seems that some appeared also in Germany.




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photos Alain Campagne


The "ROSE" Bourke is in fact an OPALINE mutation altering the pigment distribution. The blue becomes white and the pink psittacine pigment is emphasised. Some grey shade remains more or less on the head, feathers of breast being very finely brown edged. The enhanced wing stripes become visible above the wings and the underwing stripe is always evident in both sexes. The eye is dark, legs are flesh colour with dark nails. Also named ROSE in English (sometimes Rosy in USA)

The international name is OPALINE, maybe OPALINE ROSE could sound easier to use.




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photo Alain Campagne


The lutino gene removes 99% of eumelanin, turning these areas to white. That reveals the yellow and pink psittacin pigments areas which are enhanced. Eyes red, legs flesh colour. But even if the bird can look as pink as yellow the name LUTINO is the right one to be used and is agreed overall. Lutino is sex-linked inherited in most of the species, and that is true for the well- known Lutino Bourke



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photo Julie Seatter (New Zealand)


A true CINNAMON cannot produce any black or grey in any colour shade, the melanin appearing brown. The chick’s dark red eye darkens quickly. The yellow pigments on the back are noticeable here with light brown and cream markings, the general colour is more brown in the cinnamon than in a Bronze Fallow . The main difference being that the cinnamon is always sex-linked inherited.
The name "Cinnamon" was sometimes used wrongly because of some confusion between cinnamon and fallow. Also named Isabell ( Dutch) or Zimt (German) it seems quite impossible to find Cinnamon Bourkes  in France !

click here to go to the combined mutations


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