I would have to say without a doubt that Platinum
Cockatiels are my favourite
cockatiel colour of all. It is a soft silvery beige colour that is often
described as 'pale smoky grey'. Unfortunately at this stage this mutation is
only available in Australia although there have been claims that Platinum is
available in USA although this is unproven.
PlatinumCockatiels mutation is a sex-linked recessive gene that gives solid body-coloured
birds in the same manner as Cinnamon. The usual differences between the sexes is
still evident although there is often more yellow colouration present on the
hens of this mutation than other solid coloured birds. The male does gain a
melanin overlay as he matures making him generally a darker coloured bird
than the hen. Usually the Platinum colour is deeper on the flight and tail
feathers. Some Platinum birds almost appear a lavender shade when yellow
pigments are present.
The Platinum gene is from the same family as the Lutino.
A 'family' of genes is produced when more than one mutation is present at the
same site on a chromosome. Here we have the lutino and platinum being at the
same location yet having a different visual outcome. This has occurred as a
result of a single gene being altered in two different ways giving us two genes
that are both variations of the same original gene. I will discuss this further
when we get to Platino Cockatiels.
The Lutino acts by preventing the depositing of the
grey/brown family pigments or melanins. Platinum has the same effect but does
not completely eliminate all the melanin as does Lutino. It is referred to as an
'intermediate' mutation. With PlatinumCockatiels some grey family pigments are
still produced but in a lesser degree than the normal grey bird. They do contain
melanin but it is a greatly reduced amount of pigment that is present. The
resultant bird therefore has the appearance of half way between the normal
grey with full compliment of melanin and the lutino which has no melanin. It can
be easily differentiated from the other sex-linked gene, Cinnamon, by the fact
that the cinnamon gene prevents brown pigments being converted to black and so
has no grey pigments present and the Platinum gene allows the grey pigments to
be produced but the amount deposited is much less. The amount of pigment
produced in the cinnamon is not reduced at all as is the Platinum.
Platinum Cockatiels will also have light coloured legs
and feet as a result of the pigment reduction when compared to the normal grey.
Feet and legs are a beige colour as is the beak. The eyes on newly hatched
chicks are plum coloured but do darken and are hard to distinguish in the adult
Some breeders over the years, have indiscriminately combined
the cinnamon and platinum mutation making it often difficult to determine if a
bird is truly platinum or a cinnamon platinum combination. Because of this I
have fond there a quite a few breeders that will not breed the Platinum as they
cannot be 100% certain of it's genetics. Once cinnamon is combined with platinum
it can be hard to get rid of and novice breeders can often be caught out buying
a bird they think is just Platinum when in fact it is Cinnamon Platinum. This is
one reason I have checked the background of my birds and purchased my original
breeding birds from reputable breeders. I love the Platinum bird as it is and
will never combine the cinnamon gene with it under any circumstances. Each
colour is gorgeous on it's own and I do not find the necessity to have the two
present in the same bird. Combining them can only serve to make both mutations
wishy-washy and poor substitutes for either in their true pure form.
I have successfully bred some beautiful multi-mutations with
the PlatinumCockatiels. The normal Platinum is a very appealing bird on it's
own and when combined with Pearl or Pied is even more desirable in my opinion.
The Whiteface Platinum is stunning and is a more silvery coloured bird. My
personal favourite is the Pastelface Platinum. This combination results in a
pale smoky grey bird with pale yellow almost lemon colouring where the yellow
pigment would normally be. Combine that with the pearl or pied and it is even
better. I am looking forward to this season when I should have my first
Pastelface Platino chicks in the nest. Next year should see Pastelface Platino
Pearl Pieds and Pastelface Platinum Pearl Pieds in the nest as well if all goes
according to plan.
Now let's delve a bit deeper into the Lutino family of genes
and discuss Platinocockatiels.
Genetically PlatinoCockatiels are a Platinum Lutino.
How can you get that you say? Doesn't Lutino prevent the depositing of grey
family pigments yet Platinum only partially prevent this from occurring? How is
it possible to have these two mutations visually present in the same bird?
Wouldn't it be a Platinum split Lutino or a Lutino split Platinum?
Let me try and help you understand what occurs. Firstly there
a few points that need to be stated.
1)Platinum and Lutino are both different mutations of the one
2)A gene has a set position on a chromosome where it always
resides and it cannot be in any other position.
3)Mutations of any gene always reside in that same position
4)Only one gene can be present at any one location on any one
5)You cannot have the original gene and a mutation of it in
the one spot. It is either the original or the mutant but never both at the one
So if Platinum and Lutino are both from the same family
that means they both occupy the same position on a chromosome or it is said
they have the same 'Loci'. That means on any one chromosome at that particular
position, a bird may have either one of 3 possible genes. It may have the
original pre-existing or wild-type gene, or it may have one of the two
mutations of that wild-type gene ie. the platinum or the lutino. It can never
have all of them or two of them, only one.
The easiest way to explain this is through an example of a
mating of two birds. Lets consider the resulting offspring from a Platinum
cock bird with a Lutino hen. Keep in mind both the Platinum and Lutino gene
are carried on the X sex chromosome and thus Dad (XX) carries two Platinum
genes and mum (XY) carries only one lutino. In this case the father would give
each chick a Platinum gene and mum would give each male chick a Lutino gene.
Both these mutations are sex-linked recessive so we assume that the chicks
resulting from this combination would be:
Males: Normal grey split to Platinum and Lutino
Because hens sex chromosomes are X and Y, any female chicks
must inherit the Y from mum and this chromosome contains no genes that carry
we have learned already, Platinum and Lutino are from the same family and
occupy the same position on the chromosome. Looking at the male chicks above
you will see that in the Lutino family gene position we actually have a
Platinum on one X chromosome and a Lutino on the other X chromosome. Because
chromosomes always come in pairs and in this case there is no wild-type gene
to mask the visual effect of the recessive Lutino or Platinum gene then both
these genes are capable of expressing themselves. Neither of these two genes
are dominant over the other so they work together and act like two of the same
gene. It is only with genes of the same family that this can occur. The
resultant visual bird is a neither a Platinum nor a Lutino but a mixture of
the two because both genes get to impart their effect on the normal colour of
the bird. Because Lutino prevents the deposition of the grey family pigments,
it attempts to do just that. The Platinum gene on the other hand allows some
grey family pigments to be deposited so it attempts to do it's job. Because
these two genes are affecting the same family of pigments it is almost like
they reach a compromise and both are allowed to partially exhibit their visual
affects. The resultant bird has more grey family pigments than the normal
Lutino but less than the normal Platinum......hence Platino Cockatiels.
Cockatiel chicks can be distinguished from a Whiteface Lutino chick by the
feather and eye colour. A Whiteface Lutino chick has bright red eyes the same
as a Lutino but I have found that in a Platino chick the eyes are darker Plum
coloured like the Platinum. As you can see in this picture, the Platino is
very light coloured when young....almost white yet the eyes are darker like
that of his siblings that are Whiteface Platinum. The colour of a Platino does
darken as the bird matures as is usual in male birds of most mutations.
One important thing to note here is that only males can
be Platinos. Because hens have an X and a Y chromosome and only the X
carries colour genes then it is impossible for her to have two genes of any
one family. There is no position on the Y chromosome for a gene of this family
so the only one she has is on the X. It is therefore impossible for her to
carry a lutino and a Platinum gene at the same time. She can have one
or the other but not both. Thus she will be either visually Platinum, Lutino
or Normal Grey depending on which one of the three Lutino family genes she
carries on that position of her X chromosome.
The last thing we need to consider is the correct
terminology for naming this Platinum and Lutino combination in the male
cockatiel. Genetically he has one Lutino gene and one Platinum gene. With
normal recessive mutations like Pied or Pastelsilver if he carried only 1 of
either of these he would be said to be split for that mutation. That
usually denotes that he carries the gene but it is hidden and not visual. So
we can't say he is split to Lutino and Platinum because that would visualise
to us a normal grey bird and that is not the case. If we said it was Platinum
Lutino then that would infer that the bird carried two Platinum genes to make
him Platinum and two Lutino genes to make him Lutino like we would assume if
we said a bird was Whiteface Pied for example. That is also not true here.
This where the name Platino was adopted. The name is a combination of
the two genes just as the visual colour is a combination of the two genes.
So when it comes to breeding a Platino male we must
remember the correct genetic description to correctly determine his possible
offspring. The Platinum and Lutino gene are, and always will be on separate
chromosomes. Any offspring can thus get one or the other gene but not both. So
it is therefore possible to get Lutino cockatiels and Platinum
Cockatiels from male Platino Cockatiels.
Please feel free to email me if you would like any more
information or if you have trouble understanding this explanation of the
Platinum Cockatiels and Platino Cockatiels.