Jana worked in animal welfare with abused and unwanted pets. She loves sharing her hands-on experience regarding domestic and wild critters.
Albino Budgies: A Type of White Parakeet
The word “albino” conjures up the image of a white animal with reddish eyes. This is quite correct. With budgies, albinism manifests as one would expect of this condition. The bird's entire plumage is white; they also have pink legs and a pink cere (nose band that contains the nostrils), and their eyes appear markedly red. This variety is caused by the Ino gene, which removes melanin—the substance responsible for dark colours.
Interestingly, albinos are not the only budgies affected by the Ino gene. A second group is referred to as the lutino. A lutino is a green series variety masked by Ino. Inherently, it should have been a green bird; however, thanks to the gene, the bird has a rich, buttercup-yellow body instead. Similar to the albino, the legs and cere are pink, and the bird has striking red eyes.
Are They Hard to Care For?
The good news is that caring for an albino budgie is no different from any other. They don't have the skin or vision problems associated with the condition in other species, including humans. Some of these birds are even regular-sized and have perfect plumage.
Good care can be as simple as proper environment, feeding and stimulation.
- Always make sure the budgies are not kept in a place where there's a draft, high humidity, extreme temperatures or too much noise.
- Don't line the bottom of the cage with newspaper. Budgies are curious and love to tear stuff. Unfortunately, wet pieces of paper represent a lethal choking hazard.
- Keep the cage out of direct sunlight and away from locations where predators such as cats and shrikes can reach the budgies.
Food and Water
- Provide supplements. The options here are nearly limitless and can be purchased as raw items (cuttlefish bone) or toy-like nibbles that double as iodine and mineral sources.
- Don't subject a budgie to a diet that only features seeds. This shortens your pet's life in terms of years. They also need fresh greens, fruit and vegetables. Always research a new food before giving it to your pet; not all plant matter is safe for budgies.
- Consider using only bottled water. Tap water is treated with chemicals that can have harmful effects on the long-term health of a budgie.
- Do everything possible not to cause stress or fear; for example, use slow movements during cage cleaning and physical handling.
The Best Environment for a Budgie
Budgies are adaptable, but they need space and friendship. Small cages tend to produce depressed pets that lead shorter lives. A cage must also have safe toys to stimulate the budgie's fitness and mental sharpness. This parakeet is exceptionally intelligent and needs fun challenges like puzzles as well as a social life with its owner and other budgies. Ideally, a budgie must not be kept on its own. They are hardwired to be highly social.
How Female and Males Differ
As a point of interest, albinism shows up differently in the two genders. A bird can only carry a single or double copy of the gene. All females, whether they have one or two copies of the gene, will visibly show the condition. Males, on the other hand, must have two copies in order to appear as an albino. Should they only have one, their albinism stays hidden beneath another colour. This makes the cock a “split” or an individual hiding a colour.
Budgies without the Ino gene display normal gender differences. The cocks have vivid blue ceres and legs. Hens can display a variety of shades in the spectrum of white, pink, beige and brown. Their legs are usually pink or something close to it.
How Do You Tell Them Apart?
The problem with albinos is that both genders show feminine colours. Male albinos cannot develop the distinctive blue of the masculine budgie. Should you need to identify your albino's gender and none are putting down a clutch, you'd need expert help such as a vet or a genetic test.
Problems With Albino Budgies
There's no doubt about the fact that budgie lovers adore the albino variety. The porcelain white body, the intriguing depths to those gem-red eyes—add looks to the endearing personality of all budgies and you've got a hit on your hands. Unfortunately, this kind of popularity and genes don't mix. It's easy to breed albinos: Just put two together (if you can pick the males and females apart, that is). They will produce a full clutch of white chicks with pink eyes.
The problem is that albinos tend to be smaller and sometimes have feather problems. Continuing to breed albinos to each other down a single-family line, without the odd-coloured partner, may produce the popular bird but compromises the integrity of this variety.
Questions & Answers
Question: Where can I find an albino parakeet?
Answer: There are several ways you can get yourself an albino budgie. If your local pet shop sells birds, then you can make a turn there. Also, talk to the owner of the shop. Pet store owners get their birds from breeders or breed their own. He or she should be able to tell you if one of their contacts breed albino budgies. You can also check budgie clubs and ads placed by people selling budgies. Additionally, you can also place an ad online, with a magazine or newspaper, and ask anyone with an albino budgie to contact you. Needless to say, when dealing with strangers, stay safe and meet in a public place.
Question: How can you tell if your albino budgie is female?
Answer: There are only two ways. One, if she lays eggs. Secondly, if a vet performs a genetic test that identifies the sex chromosomes.
Question: Are Nutraberries okay for my budgie?
Answer: It seems like the jury is still out on this one. There are fans and critics of feeding Nutraberries to any feathered pet. The best is to do your research from credible sites, talk to other owners and should you decide to give it to your budgie, do so as a treat. Also, keep the quantity minimal. Budgies thrive on high-grade parakeet seeds and fresh produce.
© 2018 Jana Louise Smit
Virginia on September 06, 2020:
My white parakeet love eating treat only. Is it proper?
Kameron Loe on September 01, 2020:
My budgie does not have red eyes but he/ she has a white body with a hint of light blue. She/ he also has a pink cere. Can anyone tell me the gender and if the budgie is a Albino?
Jana Louise Smit (author) from South Africa on July 22, 2020:
Absolutely. They will get along with any other parakeets, regardless of eye colour or the colour of their feathers. :)
AnimeWeeb on July 20, 2020:
hi!i have a question do red eyes parakeets get along with other eye color parakeets?
Jana Louise Smit (author) from South Africa on June 28, 2020:
Hi. I've unfortunately never heard of this before despite my experience with these birds. It sounds like a vet trip is needed here. All the best with your pet. :)
Monkeylover on June 02, 2020:
Hi do yo7 know why my male budgie Has a lump on his chest
Jana Louise Smit (author) from South Africa on May 10, 2020:
No, not at all! First, congratulations on your chicks. :) Again, not at all. Albinoism is genetic, so it makes sense that there are several albino babies in the same clutch. You mentioned that your female is yellow. If she has red eyes, then she has a related condition but these buttercup beauties are called lutinos. The white chicks might come from her side of the bargain. :)
Sharon on May 03, 2020:
My female laid a clutch of 6. 3 hatched, producing 2 albino chicks and one blue and white. The parents are blue (m) and yellow (f).
Is this unusual to have two albino in one clutch?
Jana Louise Smit (author) from South Africa on October 03, 2019:
Hi. The most important thing you can do right now is to put her cage where it's quiet. Do not go near her unless it is to change her food, water or clean the cage. When you do those things, move very slowly. You can talk softly so that she learns the sound of your voice but if that upsets her then rather say nothing. After your duties are done, leave her alone again. You need to give her a few days to adjust. They settle down eventually and learn to trust you. Good luck with your budgie. :)
Lily on October 02, 2019:
My budgie is scared, it’s her first day. What do I do to prevent her from being scared?