Selective breeding has created many fascinating variants and shades, one of which is the lutino budgie. It’s a member of the green series family but lacks its primary pigmentation.
Due to the ino mutation, lutino budgies don’t develop a green pigmentation.
A lutino budgie is yellow with lighter shades of yellow along its wings and tail. It has pink eyes, an orange beak, white cheeks, no markings, and may have grey or light green on its stomach, butt, and chest.
Females are most likely to manifest the lutino coloring, while males usually carry the gene but don’t brandish the coloring. So, it isn’t easy to reliably breed lutino budgies, which can lead to inbreeding.
How To Identify A Lutino Budgie
The lutino budgie brandishes intense yellow feathers on its head and body, paired with pale yellow tail and flight feathers. The lutino variety stands apart because of its ino gene mutation.
Here are the physical features of lutino budgies:
|Head and wing markings:||None|
|Cere color:||Blue, white, or tan in females; pink or purple in males|
|Eye color:||Red/ruby with white iris|
|Feet and leg colors:||Pink|
|Cheek patches:||White or silver|
|Main tail feathers:||White or light yellow|
We’ll now explore each of these features in greater detail.
The ino gene causes lutino budgies to lose their pigmentation. Budgies belong to the green series, but their genetic mutation removes the green shade from the feathers, leaving the budgie yellow.
When a budgie has a yellow pigmentation, this is known as xanthochromism.
Legs And Beak
The gene also eliminates the dark shade from the beak and skin, resulting in the budgie having an orange beak and pink legs.
Lutino budgies don’t have head or wing markings like other budgies. These areas remain clear yellow with no noticeable spots or patterns.
Even though the body color of most lutino budgies is yellow, others may have shades of green or grey on the chest, butt, and belly. They may also have silver or white cheek patches and white tail feathers.
An adult male lutino will have a pink or purple cere. Meanwhile, an adult female will have a light blue, white, or tan cere, depending on whether she’s breeding.
The eyes of male and female lutino budgies are red or ruby, while the iris is white.
What Is Ino Gene Mutation?
Lutino budgie genetics are responsible for the unique coloring. An ino gene mutation is a sex-linked type of mutation that causes color aberration in specific birds.
According to Avian Genetics, the ino gene mutation is 1 of the 6 most common genetic color aberrations in birds. The others include the following:
The ino gene is found at the ino locus of a bird’s Z chromosome, hence its name.
The gene removes all the melanin from the skin, feathers, beak, and eyes. This leaves the budgie with a different color from its breed’s primary color.
For instance, if your budgie is a green series, it’ll become yellow. Meanwhile, a blue series budgie will become white if its ino gene mutates.
A mutation of the ino gene is hereditary, but it can affect any bird.
Ino gene mutations are more common among budgerigars and other parrot species. It’s one of over 50 mutations that affect the color of budgies.
Albino vs. Creamino vs. Lutino
An albino budgie is a blue series budgie that has mutated to white because of an ino gene mutation.
This budgie will have a white base color and white feathering. These are matched to no visible markings around the neck or the rest of the body.
Conversely, a lutino budgie is a green series budgie that has turned yellow because of the same ino gene mutation. It has lush yellow feathers on its head and body, matched with pale yellow tail and flight feathers.
Sometimes the budgie will have:
- Silver or white cheek patches
- Pink or red eyes
- Reddish legs
The creamino budgie is a combination mutation of an albino and a lutino budgie.
The budgie is essentially a mix of the two other varieties, both in color and appearance. The budgie may have a yellow or golden face matched to deep yellow wings and a tail. However, the body or the base remains white. The body of a creamino may also be light cream, hence the name creamino.
Albino, creamino, and lutino budgies are strikingly similar. This is true for both their traits and, sometimes, their appearances since they all have the ino gene. All three result from a gene mutation that causes them to lose their original color before they hatch and during their development.
Are There Albino Lutino Budgies?
There’s no such thing as an albino lutino budgie. These are two different varieties, even though they carry the ino gene.
Albino budgies come from the blue series, and they’re all white with no markings. Meanwhile, lutino budgies come from the green series, and they’re a lush yellow.
Can You Have A Lutino Budgie with Black Eyes?
Lutino budgies don’t have black eyes.
All lutino variations consist of the ino gene that causes them to have red, pink, or ruby eyes with a white iris. If your budgie has black eyes, it’s probably a dark-eyed clear budgie.
The dark-eyed clear is another type of mutation produced by pairing a recessive pied budgie and a clear-flight budgie. The eyes of the dark-eyed clear budgie are all black with no iris.
Are Lutino Budgies Rare?
Lutino budgies are an uncommon variety, especially male lutinos.
It takes a good understanding of genetics to breed lutino budgies, which explains why lutino, albino, and creamino budgies are expensive compared to normal budgies.
However, according to the American Federation of Aviculture, budgies have one of the widest ranges of color mutations. Breeders have focused on this, with more interest in lutino budgie colors.
Also, some lutinos result from inbreeding and may have health issues.
Are All Lutino Budgies Female?
Not all lutino budgies are female, but many lutinos are female.
Lutino is a sex-linked mutation that requires one ino gene to be visible in female budgies. However, it requires two copies of the ino gene to be visible in male budgies.
A male budgie can be a lutino, but the gene is hidden. So, it’s not visually obvious to the breeder. Female budgies only require one ino gene in their Z chromosome to have this type of mutation.
For this reason, many people assume that all lutinos are female, but that’s not the case.
How To Tell If A Lutino Budgie Is Male or Female
You can tell if a lutino budgie is male or female by looking at its cere. A cere is the bumpy, fleshy membrane near the nostrils above the beak.
|Male lutino budgie cere color:||Pink or purple|
|Female lutino budgie cere color:||Light blue, white, or brown|
Note that the female lutino budgie’s cere changes color depending on whether it’s the breeding season.
How To Tell The Age of A Lutino Budgie
Ask the breeder or check the ID band on your budgie’s leg, attached by the pet store. The ID band will brandish different colors to signify the year the budgie was hatched.
Can Lutino Budgies Talk?
Lutino budgies can learn how to talk and respond to various sounds. You can teach them to talk, whistle, sing, and respond to your calls.
Male lutino budgies are more likely to learn speech and at a faster rate than female lutino budgies. This is because the male budgies use their vocals to attract partners.
Lutino Budgie Breeding Expectations
The ino gene is recessive and sex-linked.
If you pair two lutino budgies, their offspring are 100% guaranteed to inherit the gene. That appears simple until you realize that not all lutino males are obvious gene carriers.
You might own a lutino male and not even realize it. Pairing a normal male with a lutino female is a calculated risk for some breeders.
Having a guaranteed lutino male is rare, so some breeders will match theirs with lots of lutino females. Budgies are selective about their mates, which causes difficulties.
Pairing a normal budgie with another normal budgie may not yield a lutino budgie unless the normal male is split for lutino.
Here are the chances of breeding lutino budgies:
|Lutino Male + Lutino Female||100% lutino chicks|
|Lutino Male + Normal Female||50% normal/ lutino males, 50% lutino females|
|Normal Male + Lutino Female||50% normal/ lutino males, 50% normal females|
|Normal/Lutino Male + Normal Female||25% normal males, 25% normal/lutino males, 25% lutino females, 25% normal females|
How Much Are Lutino Budgies?
Lutino budgies aren’t that expensive, and they can be found quite easily, as selective breeding has made them more widely available. They can be purchased for about $25 at your local pet store.