Differences Between Lutino & Albino Parakeets

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Lutino and Albino parakeets can be distinguished from one another -- and from other parakeets -- by their color. Lutinos are all yellow, while Albinos are all white. Several other characteristics can also tell you whether a parakeet is lutino or albino.

The Ino Gene

Melanin puts the color in a parakeet's feathers, skin and beak. When a parakeet has the Ino gene, it removes melanin from these areas. Blue birds become all white, and are called albino. Green birds become all yellow -- though they may have yellowish-white primary wing feathers and tail feathers -- and are called lutino. Sometimes they are referred to as "Inos," which can be either albino or lutino.

Beak, Skin and Cere

The absence of melanin makes the Ino parakeets' beaks look orange in both albinos and lutinos. It also removes the blue color in the cere of male parakeets, leaving the cere a fleshy pink color. But the female's rough, brown cere is not caused by melanin, so it remains rough and brown. When the Ino gene removes melanin from these parakeets, their legs and feet are a fleshy pink color, too.

Eye Changes

The Ino gene also removes melanin from the parakeet's eyes, which normally appear dark or black. Without melanin, the eyes take on a reddish shade. There may or may not be a white ring around the bird's iris.

Tip

  • Skin, cere and eye colors are important clues in determining whether a parakeet has the Ino gene. Some parakeets that appear mostly white or mostly yellow are neither albino nor lutino -- which is obvious because their legs still have color, their eyes are still dark rather than red, and the male's cere is still blue. But some albino parakeets still have yellow cheek patches because they aren't created by melanin. However, their red eyes, pink legs and fleshy pink ceres identify them as albino.

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