The Pastelsilver Cockatiel gene is another autosomal recessive
mutation. It is known technically as a 'Dilute mutation' because it
basically reduces the amount of grey family pigments or melanins that are
produced. This effect gives a gorgeous silver colour that is stunning combined
with whiteface. The beak and legs are also slightly lighter in colour than the
normal grey but still remain dark as opposed to the lighter browns and pinks of
cinnamons and lutinos. This mutation does not alter the level of yellow pigments
on the bird at all, only the melanin. This makes it a perfect mutation to
combine with those that affect the yellow family pigments like pastelface and
whiteface and the pigment distribution altering mutations like pearl and pied.
At this point in the breeding of this colour there are few examples in Australia of pied pastelsilvers
but the pastelface and whiteface silvers are now readily available and are
In these two pictures you can see the dark feet and beak
that are still present even though the melanin in the
feathers is diluted.
The Pastelsilver Cockatiels chicks at fledging age are a paler grey than the normal grey
with dark feet and legs. On hatching the eyes are a dark plum colour, very
similar to that of the cinnamon, but within a few days are dark like a normal
grey. The hens colour is said to be slightly darker than the
cock birds as juveniles but as the cock bird matures he gets a darker melanin
overlay common in a lot of cockatiel mutations that makes him darker than the
hen. The chest of the bird is a paler shade of silver than the back and tail. In
non-whiteface varieties of this mutation the yellow suffusion in the chest area
seems more prominent against the lighter shade of silver.
Being an Autosomal recessive mutation, the pastelsilver gene
can be carried by a bird without it showing any visual signs. A cock and hen can
both carry this gene and if they both pass the gene on to a chick then it will
be visually pastelsilver. A bird that is this mutation must carry a gene on both
of it's chromosomes. If it only has one then the matching position on the other
chromosome will carry the wild-type normal gene that will be dominant over it.
There have been no negative traits noted at this stage with
the pastelsilver and the birds seem to be both fertile and willing breeders.
They have combined readily with other mutations to create some beautiful
specimens including pearl pastelface and whiteface. I personally favour the
pastelface pastelsilver. With the combining of two genes that have a dilution
effect on both the yellow pigments (psittacin) and grey pigments (melanin) the
resulting bird is a masterpiece of subtlety. A totally stunning sight is the Pastelsilver Cockatiel.