Yellowface Albinos

By Cyril Rogers - 1968

Over recent weeks I have had quite a number of letters from fanciers asking questions about the breeding of yellow-faced albinos. These letters show clearly that there is a diversity of opinion about these birds and in some cases doubts have been expressed as to their actual existence. In the course of these notes I will endeavor to explain the breeding of yellow-faced albinos in a way that can be clearly understood.

First of all let me say that yellow-faced albinos can definitely be produced and that quite a lot are bred each year. The majority of these examples occur in the aviaries of non-exhibiting breeders and consequently are only very rarely seen at shows. Many other kinds of yellow-faced budgerigars are exhibited freely and it is the absence of yellow-faced albinos that may have led fanciers to think they do not exist.

It is well known in the budgerigar world that there are several different yellow-faced mutations giving varied expressions of their particular visual colouring. The type of yellow-faced character used in the breeding of yellow-faced albinos has always to be taken into consideration, as it will be seen later on how they can vary in their colour.

The two main kinds of yellow-faced birds met with are known as Mutant I and Mutant II with the first named being the most sought after for exhibition purposes. With the Mutant I the yellow-faced character is shown mainly in the facial area with just faint tinting on the wing butts and on the tail feathers. The other mutation shows a general yellow wash over nearly all the body which gives the birds a greenish look in the blue kinds and with the albinos a pale yellow or lemon appearance.

Because of this yellow colouring with the albinos they are often mistaken for poorly coloured Lutinos. If such birds are closely examined it will be found that on the underside of their wing butts they will show the characteristic normal albino colouring. This point of identification applies to all the various heavily yellow suffused yellow-faced blue kinds. Again, it is important to identify yellow-faced blue series birds in natural light as the artificial lighting can give quite a different visual look to any coloured budgerigar.

Visible On White Only

It will be realised that the yellow-faced character is only visible on white ground birds which of course includes the albinos, dark-eyed clear whites and whites of light suffusion. With albinos the character which causes their special colouring is a sex-linked one and consequently the method of pairing controls the output of yellow-face albinos. Any bird showing the yellow-faced character can be used to produce yellow-faced albinos, for instance if the breeder has, say, a yellow-faced Mutant I cobalt cock it, can be paired to an albino masking blue hen.

Such a pairing would give all blue/yellow-faced blue, cobalt and yellow-faced cobalt young with all the cocks being "split" for albino. If these yellow-faced cocks are mated to further albino hens a percentage of their young will be yellow-faced albino cocks and hens. On the other hand if the breeder has albino cocks and they are paired to yellow-faced blue series hens then yellow-faced albino hens will appear amongst the young. All the young cock birds from this mating will of course be "split" for albino and those having the yellow-faced character can be used for producing further yellow-faced albino forms.

If the Mutant I yellow-faced type is used then the resulting yellow-faced albinos show the character on the face, wing butts and tail, with the remaining part of the body white, as with the ordinary albino. Of course individual birds will vary in the amount of yellow suffusion they show and of course the depth of the yellow will vary. It has been found that if albinos masking mauve are used to mate with yellow-faced albino mauves the depth of yellow colouring shown in any resulting yellow-faced albinos is usually richer in colour than with the ordinary blue kinds.

There are some excellent birds in existence and they could well be used as initial stock for producing yellow-faced albinos. There seems to be considerable numbers of good quality yellow-faced Mutant I and Mutant II available and if these are used together with the selected albinos some very passable yellow-faced albinos can soon be produced. When it comes to exhibiting yellow-faced albinos the classification must be very carefully examined to see just where such birds can be shown.

A point that is raised from time to time is whether the red-eyed birds can see equally as well as their normal dark-eyed counterparts. It has been my experience that the eyesight of the red-eyed varieties varies considerably from specimen to specimen and from strain to strain. Generally speaking however their eyesight is not as good as that of the dark-eyed birds but nevertheless they can fly and find their perching very well indeed. Strong sunlight is of course their worst enemy as it does have a bearing on their visibility.

At one time it was thought that the red-eyed varieties were more delicate than others but over the years this has been disproved as the red-eyed types are equally as strong and vigorous as the normals. However, with any variety of budgerigars there are birds which are much more vigorous than others in their same variety. Much depends on the ancestry of the various strains of colours whatever they may be. 

Contents Page