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how to identify a spangle budgie

What Is A Spangle Budgie?

A spangle budgie has a pied mutation that removes the pigments from different areas of its body.

If it’s a double-factor spangle, it’ll be one solid color with no patterns. If it’s a single-factor spangle, it’ll have the normal patterning but in an inverted color, notably around the wings and head.

Spangle budgies have a wide range of colors, from white to yellow to purple.

Their price tag can be $10-100. If you want to breed your own, you don’t need to pair two spangles, as a normal budgie paired with a spangle can produce spangle offspring.

Spangle Budgie vs. Normal Budgie

A spangle budgie is a standard budgerigar with a gene mutation that affects its coloring.

While the name implies otherwise, this doesn’t mean the budgie will be glittery or sequined. Instead, it’ll have inverted colors or be a single color. Of course, that depends on the number of spangle genes.

The process of identifying a spangle budgie can be difficult for first-time breeders. At first glance, you may not even notice that you have a spangle.

Most budgies are composed of several colors. For example, a blue budgie might have white, black, and grey markings or patches. It’s referred to as blue because this is the most prominent body color.

Most importantly, these patterns follow a specific layout. For example, a blue budgie will likely have mostly black wings rimmed with white stripes.

Spangle Budgie Genetics

The spangle gene is a pied mutation.

In birds, pied refers to how most budgies have two or more colors. Since this part of their genes is tweaked by the mutation, the number of colors they brandish and in what pattern is affected.

Usually, a spangle budgie loses some of the usual markings around its:

  • Neck
  • Throat
  • Head
  • Wings
  • Body

The spangle gene is an incomplete dominant gene that comes into two forms. So, there are two dominant types of spangle budgies.

This depends on the number of spangle genes, so it could be one of the following:

Single-factor spangle budgie:This budgie will have inverted colors since it only has one spangle gene. For example, instead of black feathers lined with white or blue, the budgie may have blue or white feathers lined with black.
Double-factor spangle budgie:Since this budgie has two spangle genes, its body color will overwhelm all the others and make it a solid shade. For example, it may be entirely yellow or white.
spangle budgie genetics

How To Identify A Spangle Budgie

Unless you know a lot about the average coloring of a budgie, you may not realize it’s inverted.

Likewise, many new owners believe it’s natural to have a single-colored budgie, so they mistakenly think it’s not out of the ordinary.

There are characteristics you can look for when identifying a spangle budgie, such as:

Body Color

Normal budgies are a mix-match of different colors and patterns. However, spangle budgies tend to remain consistent, even if they’re single-factor budgies and still have patterns.

For example, consider a blue budgie with a single factor spangle gene. It’ll have a white head, mostly white feathers, and a white tail. All these areas will have slight black or grey patterning.

Meanwhile, its main body will be a pale blue without a pattern. Instead of having a dark underbelly and a pale chest, it’ll have a solid color.

Meanwhile, double-factor budgies are even more consistent. These spangle budgies won’t have a different colored head, tail, or wings. For example, a yellow double-factor budgie may have slightly paler yellow on its wings or tail, but it will be yellow.


Budgies have the most prominent markings on their wings, making this area a hotspot of characteristics that you can use to identify a spangle version.

A normal blue budgie will have mostly black wings lined with white on the edges. In a single-factor spangle budgie, it’ll have mostly white wings that are rimmed with black on the edges. This often gives single-factor budgies a ghostly or unfinished look that can be very appealing.

In a double-factor budgie, it won’t have any lining or rimming whatsoever. Its wings will be a solid color. It may have a slight variation in the color’s hue, but this won’t be a big difference.

For example, if the double-factor spangle budgie is white, it might be an eggshell color on its main body with bright white flight feathers.


The mask is the area between the throat and beak of a budgie. You can tell a spangle budgie from regular budgies by checking its mask.

In a normal blue budgie, its mask will be blue with 4-6 evenly spaced throat spots. The blue color will extend over the crown and face, which are surrounded by markings.

The same holds true for a single-factor spangle budgie, but it’ll not usually have throat spots. On rare occasions, it might, but in this case, they’ll look like little crosses and have a differently colored center.  

The mask of a double-factor spangle will not have any throat spots whatsoever. Moreover, no part of its head will have markings.


In normal budgies, this ranges from red and plum to ruby and black. Meanwhile, a spangle budgie will have predominantly black eyes with a white iris.


A cere refers to the fleshy covering located at the top of your budgie’s beak.

The color of the cere depends on the sex of the bird and other genetic, health, and seasonal factors. The cere is brightly colored or royal blue for male budgies, while in female budgies, it’s pale in color.

When it comes to spangle budgies, the cere is deep blue in males and brown in females. When breeding, the cere of the female may turn beige.

How To Breed Spangle Budgies

You don’t have to pair a spangle budgie with another to create spangle budgie chicks.

Instead, you can pair your normal budgie with a single-factor or a double-factor budgie. This can still produce offspring that carry the gene.

The following advice and tips will be helpful:


Budgies won’t mate simply because they’re in a cage together.

Their personalities need to mesh, and some budgies won’t get along. This makes it difficult for breeders that only have one spangle budgie and need it to reproduce.

You can encourage two budgies to get along by giving them more space, food, and toys. According to Applied Animal Behaviour Science, providing extra space for budgies will limit conflict.

If the pair don’t mesh well, you can get another normal budgie to see if the spangle enjoys its company better.

Age Requirements

Ideally, your spangle budgie should be at the start of its prime laying years.

For a female, this will be 1-3 years. In males, this can be up to 6. According to the University of Idaho, the fertility of female budgies declines with age.

To raise the chances of producing more spangles over time, get a male spangle.

Monitor The Parents

Because spangle budgies result from a gene mutation, there’s no 100% guarantee of each clutch producing spangled budgies. So, you need to do what you can to get as many eggs as possible to hatch.

Also, since young budgies are prone to breaking or throwing away eggs as they gain experience as parents, you’ll need to supervise them more closely.

This could involve doing one or more of the following:

Spangle Budgie Breeding Expectations

Budgie PairingOutcome
Single-factor spangle + normal budgie50% normal + 50% single-factor spangle
Single-factor spangle + single-factor Spangle25% normal budgie + 25% double-factor budgie + 50% single-factor budgie
Double-factor spangle + normal budgie100% single factor budgie
Double-factor spangle + single-factor spangle50% single-factor spangle 50% double-factor spangle
Double-factor spangle + double-factor spangle100% double-factor budgie

Spangle Budgie Price

Here’s the cost of the four most popular spangle budgies:

White Spangle

A white spangle budgie has a double-factor gene.

It’s one of the most eye-catching versions since it’s purely white with no markings. In some cases, it may have yellow hues along its back or flanks, but these are very muted.

White spangles are at the higher price end, costing about $75.

Green Spangle

You have more options with a green spangle budgie, including:

  • Olive green
  • Dark green
  • Light green
  • Grey green

These are usually a single factor. The gene mutation sometimes gives them a muddy color, making green spangles the least expensive of all spangle budgies.

Depending on the intensity of their colors and the breeder, you can buy them for $10-35.

Purple Spangle

Purple spangle budgies are extremely rare, and they get their unique color from extensive breeding. Therefore, you have to choose particular male and female budgies to produce a purple spangle.

This drives the price of purple spangle budgies to $90.

Sky Blue Spangle

The sky blue spangle budgie is one of the most striking. They have a pale color that complements the single factor patterns well.

The light color of sky blue spangles means that they cost about $100 each.

Spangle budgies are an interesting alternative to the norm, whether inverted or one solid color.