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13 Types of Budgies (Parakeets)

Budgies, also known as parakeets, are the most popular type of pet bird around the world. They are friendly, social, and ready to play with their owners. They sing cheerful songs and are happy to greet the day each morning.

This makes them a great companion if you’re interested in having a pet. Budgies live between 5 – 8 years and usually benefit from being kept in pairs. 

This article takes a look at some of the most popular budgie coloration types (morphs). A lot of selective breeding has been conducted with these birds, so there are many different morphs to choose from. We’ll go in depth about the different budgie color variations that you can buy today. 

You’ll discover facts about how common each morph is, the way the traits are inherited, and how common the mutation is. Read on to discover more about budgie colors and ways to identify each morph type. 

Basic Budgie Characteristics 

Let’s start off slow before getting into the details. Budgies (Melopsittacus undulatus) are some of the easiest parrots to care for and learn about. They like to eat seeds in the wild but live best on pellets and fresh fruit in captivity. A bird usually measures 7 inches long and a little over 1 ounce. 

Their wild origin is in Australia, where they fly from place to place in large flocks. On that continent, they live in all but the northern and western coasts. Most budgies are one base color on their chest, back, and underside.

They have another wing color, which may be patterned, as well as a head color with stripes. There are many more types of budgie characteristics and colorations than described on this list. But don’t worry – we’ll give you a basic run down so you’ll be able to understand more complex morph types. 

13 Types of Budgies

While there’s only one species of budgie, there are a lot of budgie color morphs. The exact number of variants can depend on the classification used by different breeding organizations, and there are certainly more than a dozen recognized.

Among these, a commonly acknowledged list includes 13 distinct variants. These might be categorized based on color, patterns, markings, or unique mutations. Each variant adds to the vibrant diversity of budgerigars, contributing to their worldwide popularity as pets. Please refer to the specific list or breeding society guidelines for detailed information on each of these 13 variants. 

1. Light green 

This is the heritage coloration of the budgie. All other morphs stem from this one color pattern. Light green budgies have a light green belly and underside, a yellow head and neck, and a dark black back and wings.

The back and wings are striped with white or yellow from the head and neck. There are also accompanying dots of pigment around the neck and mouth. 

Light green budgies exhibit dominant traits. They are yellow-based, meaning the color of their feathers has yellow in it. The alternative, white-based, is recessive, and leads to blue birds.

2. Dark Green and Olive  

These two morphs stem from the darkness gene in budgie genetics. It’s all based on a ‘factor’ system. Without any darkness factors, the bird is a light green budgie. 

With just one, it becomes a dark green budgie. The chest and belly is more vivid and slightly darker. Olive budgies have two factors.

This makes the chest and belly color muted and slightly toned down compared to birds with lesser factors. The head is still yellow, however. 

3. Sky Blue

Sky blue budgie
Sky blue budgie | image by cuatrok77 via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

The sky blue budgie is genetically similar to the light green budgie. However, it is white-based instead of yellow-based. One or both of its parents could have been a light green budgie because the trait for white-based feathers is recessive. 

Sky blue budgies have a bright sky-blue chest and belly, a dark black tail and back with white stripes, and a whitish head with a few blue dots. their beaks are yellow.

4. Cobalt & Mauve

Like the dark green and olive varieties of budgie, the sky blue and cobalt varieties rely on the presence of a darkness gene to cause the feathers to change in color. Cobalt budgies have chests and undersides that are almost periwinkle. They are white-headed and have black and white striped backs. 

The mauve budgie is interesting because even though it has two factors of the darkness trait, it doesn’t look darker than the cobalt morph. Instead, it appears almost gray with a slight tinge of purple. 

5. Violet 

The violet budgie results in the perfect storm of genetic combinations. This bird looks similar to a cobalt budgie, but instead of the cobalt or periwinkle chest, its chest is almost perfectly purple. It’s one of the true purples in the budgie color wheel. 

This type of bird’s genetic history is exciting: the violet budgie only hatches when a cobalt budgie inherits 1 violet factor, or a sky blue budgie inherits 2 violet factors. 

6. Greywing 

Greywing budgies are victims of the dilution mutation. Instead of bringing vibrancy to their feathers, the dilution mutation leaches color out. It makes them more muted and similar to pastels in color. This kind of mutation can happen to yellow-based and white-based budgies. 

The distribution of the dilution over the body depends on what kind of diluted morph it is. Greywings’ black head markings are grey instead. However, some types of greywings have been bred to retain their full color even though they have gray wings and backs.  

7. Albino

albino budgies
Albino budgies

We’re all familiar with albinism. It’s when a mutation occurs in the part of the DNA that controls the pigment present in feathers, skin, or scales. Albino budgies are white-based budgies that have inherited this recessive gene from both parents.

This sex-reliant gene will inherit differently based on if the parents are albino or just carry the hidden gene. 

8. Lutino

When you think of lutino, imagine albino, but with yellow in it. Yellow-based budgies with the albino gene grow light yellow feathers. They have red eyes.

There are no patterns or changes in coloration among lutinos. Two other traits can be shown upon lutinos, including cinnamon coloration and yellowface. It’s difficult to track what traits chicks will get, especially because the lutino gene is controlled by the appearance and sex of the parents.

Fathers must be carriers to produce female chicks. To produce male chicks, the mom must be lutino herself and the father has to carry the gene. 

9. Yellowface 

Yellowface is a two-tiered genetic trait that can act upon almost any type of budgie. It is an intermediate state between the pure yellow of a yellow-based budgie and the crisp white of a white-based budgie. Breeders often label it as a creamy color. 

Yellowface gets its name because its mild form, yellowface type I, usually affects only the face. Yellowface type II extends throughout the body and overlays a blanket of yellow over existing pigment. 

10. Dominant Pied 

Pied is another word for mixing two or more colors, and that’s just what the feathers of the dominant pied budgie do. These budgies can be any color, yellow- or white-based, and male or female. 

The identifying trait of dominant pied budgies is a stripe around the body feathers and wing feathers. This is usually the base color of the bird. You can tell a dominant pied apart from a recessive pied because the eyes grow lighter over time, while recessive pieds’ irises don’t change color. 

11. Recessive Pied 

Recessive pied budgies have a mixture of multiple colors. This mixture is heavily skewed towards the base body color. In the case of a light green budgie, it would be towards yellow.

In the case of a cobalt budgie, it would be towards white. If color is preserved on the body, it is localized around the rump of the bird. This is a recessive trait that can only be passed down if both parents are recessive pied or if one parent is recessive pied and the other is a hidden carrier.

12. Cinnamon 

Cinnamon budgies have a simple color mutation – brown feathers. This mutation happens to white- and yellow-based birds. All it does is change the existing black feathers from black to brown.

All other coloration remains the same. This mutation is reliant on the sex and appearance of the parents. 

13. Opaline 

Opaline budgies are more rare compared to other morphs. It’s similar to inverting the colors on your computer screen: instead of having a large patch of black with small white markings, the opaline budgie has a large body color patch with tiny gray and black patches. It creates an ombre effect in most birds since the head is usually lighter than the body color.