Lutino Cockatiels
Normal Grey
Olive Cockatiels
Spangle Cockatiel

Platinum Cockatiels Platino Cockatiels


Platinum Cockatiels &

Platino Cockatiels

Platinum Cockatiels

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.

Platinum henThe Platinum Cockatiels 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 Platinum Cockatiels 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.

Whiteface Platinum Pearl hen

Platinum whiteface pied hen

Whiteface Platinum Pearl juvenile cock                      whiteface platinum pearl pied hen

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 bird.

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 Platinum Cockatiels. 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.

Young Pastelface platinum pied hen and Young Whiteface Platinum Pied hen                                              Pastelface platinum pearl hen

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Platino Cockatiels

Now let's delve a bit deeper into the Lutino family of genes and discuss Platino cockatiels.

Genetically Platino Cockatiels 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 pre-existing gene

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 as well.

4)Only one gene can be present at any one location on any one chromosome.

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 time.

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

Hens:     Platinum

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 colour.

(For a detailed introduction on sex-linked recessive inheritance please see the Lutino page).

Whiteface Platino maleAs 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.

Whiteface Platino and Whiteface Platinum chicksWhiteface Platino and wf lutino eye colour comparisonPlatino 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.

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This site was last updated 2-Sept-2020

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