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I recently learned about the clear pied mutation and I think Spooky might be that instead of lutino. His eyes are more brownish than red when the light hits them directly, the iris itself is definitely brown. And they never appear red in photos. He also has a full head of feathers... no bald spot or even thinner feathering behind the crest. Are there any additional ways I could tell? I have no way of knowing what his parents looked like.

I've heard lutinos are prone to certain medical issues from inbreeding, and was wondering if that is true and whether clear pieds are prone to any medical issues. That's my main reason for trying to figure out whether he is a true lutino or a clear pied. :)


 

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Clear pieds are birds that are pied and happen to be all white. Pied is a mutation that affects random sections of feathers, so when a bird has yellow/white feathers with this mutation those white/yellow feathers are said to be "pied feathers". This is important to understand because it underlines how rare clear pied really is. Some lutinos have eyes that change color away from red to gray, blue or amber with age for various reasons and many times they get mislabeled clear pieds the same way clear pieds are sometimes labelled lutino. I cannot tell you for certain because it has been implied that this is a male. But lutinos are far, far more common than clear pieds.

If you are not sure about the sex, see if this bird has wing spots or tail bars when viewed under a black (ultraviolet) light. If it does, its definitely a lutino possibly female.

EDIT: This is what a hen lutino looks like under a black light:





A adult male with no other mutations will not have the wing spots and tail bars in the photos above.
 

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The tricky part with lutinos and black lights is if the bird is also pied, it will mask the spots.. i believe yours is a clear pied so either have a dna test done or watch for behavioral clues
 

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This has good info: http://www.justcockatiels.net/pied.html

I don't think the health problems with lutinos (except for the bald spot) is really that big of an issue anymore. Although it was a concern a number of years ago, with better breeding, I think a lutino's health condition is pretty much on par with the other cockatiels now.
 
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