Whiteface Cockatiels are a stunning sight that stands out
from most other colours in that it contains no orange cheekpatch or yellow
colouration at all. The male is the most eyecatching of the 2 sexes having the
true white face that gives this mutation its name. Hens of this mutation retain
the greyish colour of the juvenile bird and do not ever get the brilliant
contrasting white face against the very dark grey body colour. When Whiteface is
combined with other mutations it creates other visually appealing colours that
further enhance the beauty of the cockatiel.
Genetics and Heredity
The Whiteface Cockatiels mutation is created by an autosomal recessive
gene that deactivates the production of the yellow pigments. Basically all
yellows and oranges are totally absent in the whiteface and it is apparent even
in the newly hatched chick of this mutation. As soon as a chick hatches a
whiteface bird can be determined by the white down. All other colours have
yellow down except for the whiteface.
In parrots this mutation is referred to as 'Blue'. As most
people are aware that yellow and blue make green, in the usual green coloured
parrot species when the yellow is removed we are left with basically blue. In
cockatiels which are not green coloured but in fact grey, the gene still in
effect removes the yellows and oranges but leaves a grey bird lacking the
characteristic orange cheekpatches and yellow facial colouring.
For a cockatiel to be a whiteface bird.....ie have no yellow
or orange colours ....it must have got a whiteface gene from both of it's
parents and thus have a pair of whiteface genes. Recessive means that if it has
only one gene from 1 parent and none from the other then the gene will not be
able to express itself and thus the bird will be said to be split to
whiteface. Therefore it is possible to breed visually Whiteface Cockatiels from two
parents that do not look whiteface but do carry a single gene each and pass them
on to the same chick.