Blue Baby Budgies

Genetics can rapidly put me to sleep. The details look like alphabet soup in some cases. For instance, finches, Lady Gouldians especially. You have to crack the code. RH PB GB = Red Head Purple Breast Green Back or Normal RH. BH PB BB = Black Head Purple Breast Blue Back, or a really pretty bird! Here’s the decoder ring: and more input: and my all-time favorite gould:

Zebra finches at least use normal words: Isabel, creamino, grizzled, but also have initials like NG for normal grey, OC for orange cheek, BC for black cheek, and my favorite, CFW for chestnut-flanked white. These do get complicated with things like Split OB/BB/BC which means at least one parent of the bird being described had an orange breast, black back, and black cheek. Here’s that decoder ring:

Cockatiels are less diverse, possibly because they don’t breed as rapidly as the finches. And last time I looked, they used whole words, albino, lutino, pearl, white-faced grays, cinnamon, and the always present normal grays. Well, according to this site, the alphabet soup has conquered cockatiel breeders:

Lovebirds have almost finch-like mutations. When you have a green bird, you have blue and yellow to work with. There are several species of these adorable little parrots, but we will look at peach-faced lovebirds because that’s the most confusing. I think there should be a law against naming a bird for a color on it, but then we would need to rename so many species it’s just mind boggling. So remember that peach-faced is the name of the whole species, and not one of the mutations. There are lutino pfls, cherry head lutino pfls, violet pfls, sea green pfls. Well, here’s a good site with a more complete list: and of course the African Love Bird Society, where you can learn about other lovebird species too:

And all of the above are just external signs of the genetics. The action happens as the fertilized egg leaves the hen and the embryo weaves its genetic material from the parents into its own unique self. If you understand all that alleles and chromosomes, you will enjoy these sites: for beginners and more advanced. Really technical:

I’m thinking about this subject now because my budgie chicks are feathering out. They’re blue! Well, duh, both parents are blue. Mom has a yellow head, and apparently one of the chicks also has a yellow head. Two out of four have the black lines on their wings and backs. So I think they are going to be really beautiful birds.

Here’s a guide to budgie colors and mutations, cause they are totally the best: Be sure to look for and click on the half-sider link. Pretty interesting!

So this should give you something to think about over the holiday weekend. Old-fashioned genetic manipulation actually involved sex and breeding. Sometimes, the old ways are the best. See you on Wednesday.

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