Parrotlet Color Mutations

January 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Pet Birds

Parrotlets are sweet, feisty little birds with a love for life. These little guys come in a range of colors. Hopefully after reading this you will have a better idea of these mutations and will appreciate them.

Blue
The blue mutation is one of the more popular and common color. As the name implies, these parrotlets are an attractive light blue. Sometimes referred to as ‘Mountain Blues’, these little guys are easy to find and beautiful.

Dilute Blue
These parrotlets are less common and are commonly mistaken for white parrotlets. They are mostly white; however, they have a tiny hint of extremely pale blue around their eyes, which you can use to differentiate between the two types. They are less common, so you may need to go to a breeder to get one.

White
As the name implies, these parrotlets are pure white. They are much like the Dilutes – but without the blue. They are uncommon, but can be found in some breeders’ aviaries. Males, when placed under ultraviolet light, have blue edges on their wings.

Albino
Albino parrotlets are almost exactly the same as the White, but they have red eyes due to lack of pigmentation. These parrotlets are semi-rare so you may need to do some searching for them.
Their wings do not turn blue under ultraviolet light.

American Yellow
These parrotlets are some of the few colors to be developed in the Americas and not in Europe. A bright yellow, they have black eyes. There is a variation of these with red eyes referred to as Lutinos. Both of these are somewhat uncommon.

Dilute
Dilute is a darker version of the normal green found on parrotlets. It has a gray hue and is actually a very attractive color on them. It is extremely rare and only found on Green-Rumped parrotlets.

Fallow
Fallow is a beautiful color mutation. These birds look much like normal parrotlets but with a yellow face and red eyes. These are extremely rare, and you may not be able to currently obtain one.

Dark Factor
Dark Factor parrotlets are the newest color mutation. These birds are a brown-green color with black flight feathers. Since these have just been discovered, they are still very rare and hard to find.

European Yellows
These birds are the cousin of the American Yellows, but look different – having spots of greenish feathering, not ha consistent yellow like the Americans. These are hard to find without a little searching.

Hopefully this article has cleared up your understanding of parrotlet colors. If you would like one, contact a breeder. Mutations are not commonly found at rescues or shelters.

Article contributed by: Eliza Kuklinski.

Secrets of a Bird of Paradise

January 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Features

Any bird watching enthusiast would agree that watching a male bird of paradise Lawes’s parotia trying to gain the interest of a female is a breathtaking experience. Its colorful chest, displayed against his black plumage makes for a spectacular show, and scientists have been studying their plumage to discover the secrets of the male Lawes’ parotia’s mating dance. It seems that the shape and special features of their feathers holds the answers to the questions that have been intriguing bird lovers for years.

To get the full effect of his mating dance, the male Lawes’s parotia spreads his wings around his body, allowing his feathers to look like a ballerina skirt, and puffs his chest out to exhibit the colors. As he moves from side to side during his dance, he repositions the feathers on his chest, allowing them to catch the light and evolve into a color display of yellow, blue and orange. The fact that these birds are able to change the color of their chest plumage at such a staggering speed has always fascinated those who have witnessed it, and now there are some answers to this magnificent natural display. To find the secrets to this bird of paradise’s plumage, scientist began to study each feather on its own and found a feature that is unique to this species. The feathers do have barbules, just like any other bird, but the difference is in the shape of the individual barbules.

Usually in the cylindrical shape of branches, this species’ feather barbules are shaped in the form of a boomerang. This basically serves as a mirror ball, so to speak. As the light reflects off the centre of the barbules, the feathers appear orange and yellowish in color, and as the light catches the sides of the barbules, the colors dance between blue and green. It was also found that the barbules have twenty-five layers of melanin, with small spaces between pigments, and is then covered by a thin keratin layer. As melanin is actually brown in color, the keratin and melanin are used in conjunction to manipulate light and create the stunning colors the species is known for.

Nature most definitely has a way of creating unique and mysterious features for each bird that takes the combined efforts of scientists to unlock their secrets. One secret that is still held by the bird of paradise Lawes’s parotia, is how the female bird perceives this display of color, and it does not seem that she is eager to share all her secrets with the world.

Bird Watching: What’s with the Camouflage

September 18, 2006 by  
Filed under Features

There are hard-core birders that feel they need to dress up like a supporting player in a Rambo movie in order to get deep in to the bird’s environment. As a result, you see quite a few bird enthusiasts dressed up in camouflage pants and shirts, their faces smeared with green grease paint. It’s no wonder they aren’t scaring away the very birds they are hoping to see in the first place.

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