Taken from the books "The Cult of the Budgerigar by W. Watmough" and "The Complete Budgerigar by Dr. Mathew M. Vriends".


Lutinos sometimes are called yellow albinos. This is a good name for them because albinos and lutinos are brought about by the same factor, the one that removes melanin, the black pigment. More precisely, the Lutino is the "albino" of the green and yellow color series, while the true albino belongs to the blue color series. So, actually albino and lutino are not really separate colors, as odd as this may seem. They are albinised green or yellow birds or albinised blue birds---except that in the case of the lutino they still retain the basic ground color. A lutino light green/white, therefore, looks like a usual yellow lutino with red eyes and rose-colored legs. Actually it is a light green split or white Budgie that lost its coloration through albinism and therefore appears to be Lutino. Lutinos can be bred by crossing albinos or split for albinos with Budgies carrying the yellow or green factor. Albinos are bred by mating Lutinos with Budgies carrying the blue or white factor. Not all birds from these matings turn out to be albino or lutino after the first cross. Sex linkage is somehow involved. At first, one thought all Lutinos and albinos inherited sex-linked traits. Only later was it discovered that some albinos and lutinos had sex-linked traits but that others did not. Apparently, a second mutation came about after the original one in Germany, and this second mutation is not sex-linked. The two types of albinos can not be distinguished visually from one another. Only by breeding can the difference be discovered.

I have put the word "Lutinos" in parenthesis to distinguish these birds from the red-eyed Yellow Fallows, although fanciers when speaking of these birds almost invariably use the word "Lutino" In a sex-linked variety the colour gene is on the sex chromosome. In a non-linked variety it is on a different chromosome. A Lutino is masking some normal colour (say Light Green). Let us imagine, for the sake of illustration, that you mate a non-linked Lutino cock masking Light Green to a sex-linked Lutino hen masking Light Green. The genes for albinism being on chromosomes which cannot pair (an ordinary chromosome and the sex-chromosome) albinism will not occur in the youngsters. Therefore, the result will be exactly the same as if the parents had not been Lutinos, but externally of the colour which was masked; and all the offspring will be black-eyed Light Greens, in appearance like any other Light Greens, but the cocks will be split for Lutino.

The earliest Lutinos left much to be desired. They were of often small, narrow in body, nipped in neck and mean in head (low in quality & size) , and in colour they varied considerably. It has to be recognised that although, theoretically, a Lutino is pure yellow in colour, there is often, even now, a green sheen to be seen, usually on the hind parts of the bird. Complete absence of this sheen is desirable. Believe me, there was a lot of it on most of the first examples of this beautiful variety. It was obvious at the outset of Lutino culture that skilful out-crossing to the Normal was necessary in order to improve type and size, and increase depth and brightness of colour. Fanciers, not unnaturally perhaps, conceived the idea that the best Normals for the purpose would be those carrying one dark or two dark factors, e.g., Dark Greens, Olives, Olive Yellows and Dark Yellows.

The Lutino is that form of albinism which is void of all pigment except yellow. Our object was obviously to have that retained yellow as bright and deep as possible. As the beneficial effect of skilful Normal out-crossing built-up, Lutinos advanced amazingly in shape and colour, and straight Lutino x Lutino crosses became desirable. Whereas not long before the war one could rarely find two Lutinos which one dare mate together--so faulty was the variety, now in the best studs there are many high quality specimens which one can select for Lutino x Lutino pairings. There is, of course, less wastage from Lutino x Lutino, because all the youngsters are Lutinos and has been for some years the almost universal pairing.

Some of the birds mated have been very good, some not so good, and others bad. We have, therefore, feared that what has happened to the Light Yellow might happen to the Lutino, but the fact is that this attractive variety has maintained its quality well. Even so, the danger exists, and there is a need for colour out-crossing in some families. At Lintoholme, they have mated Lutino to Light Green with some success, and Opaline Light Green is also well worth consideration as an out-cross. My advice on this subject is the following: If in your stud of Lutinos size or shape of head or body is falling off introduce a shapely Light Green or Opaline Light Green hen -- not a small one--and mate it to a Lutino cock. This can restore size and type, but the colour of the youngsters will probably be inferior to the pure Lutino father and his relations. Having secured improvement in shape of head and body, your task is to restore colour by selection. It will not be advisable to mate any of the offspring to Light Green or Opaline Light Green, as you do not want a double dose of the out-cross.

The concept of albinism is quite generally known. It can be defined as an abnormal trait caused by loss of pigment in the body. It produces the appearance of colorlessness. An albino animal is one that has no coloration. It looks white because our eye gets an impression of white from the "structural color" of the hair or feathers brought about by the air trapped within them. Partial albinism exists but a true albino has no color pigment anywhere. Where it has no hair or feathers, the blood shines through the colorless skin, making those parts appear red or pink. Examples are eyes, legs, and beaks. Albinism occurs rarely in Nature. It probably is brought about by disturbance in the sex organs of one of the parents. Everyone knows about white mice with red eyes and rabbits of like description. There are albino ravens (very rare), blackbirds, sparrows, and large mammals. The phenomenon also occurs in humans. Albinism is a mutation, and therefore a heritable trait. Their is no factor for color in any cell, not even sex cells. It is fairly easy to propagate albinism, even though the phenomenon is rare in Nature. In the wild, an albino stands little chance of reproducing itself because to do so, it would have to find another albino with which to mate. Backcrossing in Nature just doesn't happen, there are far too many other propagative possibilities. Furthermore, albinos don't have much opportunity to breed in the first place, because the variant animal is generally shunned by others of its species. On top of that, albinos are easy prey for their enemies. Their white appearance makes them stand out and they can't take evasive action very well because their sight is impaired. The iris of their eyes lacks color like the rest of the body, and the light entering the eyes is not toned down. It is sad to think that such a beautiful animal born to be an albino has faults preventing him from breeding and surviving like other animals.

"A true Albino has red eyes and cannot become an albino. It must be born as an albino."

To tell the complete story of Albino production would be to repeat much that I have written about the Lutino. There are the following point of similarity:-
(a)I use the term Albino) because I am not referring here to the White Fallow. ("Albino" is the word by which fanciers refer to them in conversation.)
(b)They mask Normal colours in the "blue" series, whereas the Lutino masks Normal colours in the "green" series.
(c)Out-crossing to Normals is absolutely necessary to improve and maintain size and type.
(d)Only exceptional Albinos should be mated together; and there are fewer available than there are Lutinos.
When a Lutino is mated to an Albino, Albinos can derive the benefit of any improvement effected in the Lutino if they are bred from Lutino x Albino.

But fanciers who have good Lutinos usually hesitate to mate them to Albinos, because owing to the general inferiority of the latter, Lutinos so bred are likely to be inferior specimens; and the owners concerned will not wish to spoil a good and improving stud of Lutinos. Albinos can be crossed to any Normal in the "blue" series, the Normal Albinos so bred being used are Normal/Lutino production. The dark factor provides no argument here, because, of course we want neither depth nor tint in the body colour, which should be pure white, though it does often show a blue sheen in the same way that Lutinos show a green sheen. There is scope for someone to set himself the task of providing a stud of Albinos equal to the modern Lutino. This could be done.

In simple terms, true albinos have red eyes and pure white feathers. Albinos are not rare in parakeets and if you want to breed lots of them, pair a male & a female together and all the babies will be albinos. The Albino is sex linked. Red eye birds are albino, lutinos and lacewings. Hens cannot be split for the sex linked factor. Any sex linked factors (red eye, cinnamon, opaline) are passed from father to daughters or mothers to son.

E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca



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