Lutino Cockatiels
Normal Grey
Olive Cockatiels
Spangle Cockatiel

Cinnamon Cockatiels Pearl cockatiels


Cinnamon Cockatiels &

Pearl Cockatiels


Cinnamon Cockatiels and Pearl Cockatiels are another two mutations that are both sex-linked recessive. I have already discussed this in detail on the Lutino page so I won't go through it all again. Briefly it means that if a hen carries either one of these two genes she will be visually that colour. A male can be split to these mutations and if his mate is not a pearl or cinnamon then you will still get visual chicks that are these colours but they will all be hens. A male must get a cinnamon gene from each parent to be cinnamon and the same applies to the pearl mutation.

Although both are inherited in the same manner, each mutation has a distinctly different effect on the visual appearance of the bird.


A Cinnamon,a Lutino Pearl &  Cinnamon Pearl Cockatiel baby

Cinnamon Cockatiels

The Cinnamon Cockatiels gene effects the melanin pigment by actually stopping the brown pigment being changed to grey or black. The amount of pigment doesn't change at all just the colour of it. The brown colouring that remains should show no shades of grey or black in any form. This brown colour also extends to the eyes, beak, feet and legs as well as just the feathers. A chick in the nest will have obvious plum coloured eyes when compared to those of a normal grey bird but they will darken and be less noticeable by about 2 weeks of age. The beak, feet and legs will however fail to change to the dark grey/black colour as in a normal bird and will remain a pale fawn/beige colour.


Cinnamon cock birdAnother Cinnamon Pearl henobvious difference apart from the brown colouring is the extra yellow that is visible. It seems that the cinnamon allows more of the underlying yellow suffusion to show through and thus even the hens have a yellower face than in non-cinnamon birds. The males have the same yellow face as their grey counterparts but the hens don't have a cinnamon face as would be expected when compared to grey hens. There is a very marked increase of yellow  in the feathers of the face and chest of hens as well as the chest of the males.



The Cinnamon Cockatiels tones will vary too, even within the same family of birds. It appears to be altered by health, sunlight and age as well. A cock bird in particular will be at his darkest and best colouring when he is fully mature and just completed a moult. As new feathers grow through from a moult the colour difference between the old and new can be very apparent. Because the old feathers may be lightened by sunlight the new ones will appear much darker and solid coloured in contrast to the  paler and washed-out looking old ones.    

Pearl Cockatiels

Cinnamon Pearl Cockatiels handfed babyThe Pearl Cockatiels gene does not have any visual affect on the colour pigments in the bird but instead it affects the distribution of the colours that are already present. It actually decreases the spread of the grey family of pigments (melanin) and increases the spread of the yellow pigments (psittacins). Individual feathers over most of a pearled bird will have more of the yellow family of pigments visible giving them a scalloped pattern.

On young chicks in the nest it is not possible to detect a visual pearl until the pin feathers emerge. The pins will appear to be striped or spotty. The eye colour and down colour of the chick will remain the same as it would be in a non-pearled bird of the same colour.

Pearl Light Pied cockJuvenile Pearl Cockatiels look identical in both sexes. The spread of the yellow family pigments gives the hens extra yellow colouring to the face making her look more male-like. However male pearl cockatiels are said to lose their pearls on maturity. This isn't in effect the total truth. What happens is that the males pearls get covered, either fully or partially, by the melanin pigment which increases in cock birds at maturity. The pearl effect remains but is less visible.  In heavy pearled cock birds the pearls may only be partially hidden and the end result is almost a shadowy effect left where some of the pearling is still partially evident. In the picture to the right this male was very heavily pearled as a juvenile and as a result some of the pearling has remained evident on his back and wings as a light grey marble effect. The pied gene in this bird also affects this but  we will only consider the fact that the bird is a mature pearl male to give an example of what the shadowy effect looks like.

There appear to be several different variations to the pearl gene. Some pearl patterns are very large and scalloped while others are just thin lines evident around the edges of the feather. Others have very sharp distinct edges between the dark and light colours whilst others seem to almost fade into each other. Regardless of the exact pattern of the pearl though it cannot be argued that it does indeed give a very attractive appearance to an otherwise full coloured bird. It combines beautifully with any of the colour mutations and is said to even enhance the feather structure of solid coloured birds. I am not completely sure of the truth of this statement but I do know that all my pearl or split pearl birds seem to have much thicker crests than my other mutations.

Cinnamon Pearl & Whiteface Pearl Cockatiels                                     Normal Pearl juvenile

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