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Discussion Starter #1
I read that a Whiteface Lutino is an all-white Cockatiel. Is it genetically the same thing as an Albino or are they separate mutations, that both produce all-white birds? Is either variety preferable in terms of health and "robustness"?
 

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Don't quote me on this.. but I believe I have read somewhere that there is no such thing as an albino cockatiel. They are white face lutino. People have just dubbed them albino as they are used to white with red eyes that way. Perhaps someone can correct me on this.
 

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DyArianna is right...there is no such thing as an albino in cockatiels. Albino is the absence of pigment but there's more to a tiel than just pigment. A wf lutino is a combination of two mutations together...the white face mutation which removes the color from the face and the lutino mutation which removes the color from the body (I don't know the technical terms, sorry!) People just call them albino either from lack of knowledge or for those with a lack of knowledge.
 

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They're the same. Both types of birds have a lack of melanin in their feathers (melanin allows dark colors to be present). I did some research on this when we got our Lutino Pied cockatiel...everyone else has already given a lot of good explanation. I just figured i'd throw the correct term in there. =P
 

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Also, "robustness" is bred into them by selecting robust parent birds to produce babies. And health depends on the kind of care they receive before you get them. Health could also any genetic defects that could result from inbreeding.
 

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Albino is specifically the absence of melanin, which produces an all-white individual in mammals because they don't have any other color factors. But many birds have two or more color factors, and each factor requires a separate mutation to get rid of that color.

Cockatiels have two color factors: melanin (which controls the grey) and psittacin (which controls the yellow & orange). The lutino gene gets rid of the melanin and the whiteface gene gets rid of the psittacin. Both genes combined get rid of all the colors, leaving an all-white individual.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hmmm

So then, a Lutino Whiteface is technically an Albino, since it means both color pigments are removed - and an Albino is an animal without any color pigment. Lutino Whiteface are the mutations you breed together to get an Albino?
 

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No, a whiteface lutino is not an albino, although a lot of people call it an albino. Technically, an albino is an individual who is all white due to the absence of melanin. This corresponds to lutino in birds.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albino: Albinism... is a congenital disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes due to absence or defect of an enzyme involved in the production of melanin...Especially in albinistic birds and reptiles, ruddy and yellow hues or other colors may be present on the entire body or in patches (as is common among pigeons), because of the presence of other pigments unaffected by albinism such as porphyrins, pteridines and psittacins, as well as carotenoid pigments derived from the diet.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
But you said the "lutino gene gets rid of the melanin" and "an albino is an individual who is all white due to the absence of melanin". Is that not technically the same thing in the end?
 

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The term albino applies only to animals that are have melanin ONLY. Not melanin AND psittacin. Does that help any?
 

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An animal is said to be albinistic if the normal melanin is missing but the animal still has some color due to the presence of other color factors. A lutino cockatiel is albinistic but it is not albino, and a whiteface lutino cockatiel is also albinistic but not albino. A WFL is all white but this is not due solely to the absence of melanin. The yellow disappeared for a different reason.
 

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LOLOL I must admit.. I'm getting a head spin on this one. But I also comfortable with just not referring to them as albino.
 

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People can call the birds whatever they want of course, and if they talk about albino cockatiels everyone will know what they mean. But it's like holding up a sign that says "I'm not very knowledgeable about mutations" which is likely to result in lectures about proper terminology. So use the word 'albino' at your own risk! :D
 

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It might qualify as an extreme form of leucism, which is a reduction in all pigments not just melanin. In a whiteface lutino the pigment has been reduced to the zero point.
 

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Not exactly sure, but I know for sure true albinos have no color at all. So if your cockatiel has brown eyes, it wouldnt be considered a true albino because melanin makes the eyes colored. I had what I believe to be a true albino because she had red eyes and didnt come from two light colored parents. Its a genetic defect basically. And my albino had a lot of health problems and didnt end up living very long. :(
 

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An all white tiel with any color eyes but red is called a whiteface clear pied. Lutinos can have some health issues due to inbreeding but that's not a major issue nowadays.
 

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I know for sure true albinos have no color at all
This applies to mammals. The terminology and genetic principles are different for birds.

I had what I believe to be a true albino because she had red eyes and didnt come from two light colored parents.
If this was a cockatiel, she was a whiteface lutino. There has been an extensive effort to perpetuate color mutations in cockatiels, and it's not uncommon for non-light colored birds to produce WFL babies. Shodu is whiteface grey and her mate Buster is normal grey, but they have the right genes to produce WFL babies and have done it three times to date including Snowy in my signature. All my babies have been healthy and strong, and color mutations aren't an automatic ticket to health problems if good breeding practices are used.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
This explains it...

I found this on the internet - it explains it (in a way I could understand! The second paragraph is especially good in describing how it works):

Cockatiel Genetics (from http://www.upatsix.com/fyi/tiel_genetics.htm)
for the Beginning Breeder
The Albino Cockatiel - By Cynthia Kiesewetter

Let me start by saying there is no such thing as a "True Albino" cockatiel. What we call an albino cockatiel only has the phenotype (appearance) of an albino (all white feathers, pink feet, red eyes and no cheek patch). The reason it appears this way is that it is really a combination of the sex-linked Lutino mutation and the autosomal recessive Whiteface mutation. Lutino is a mutation which has affected the melanin pigment in such a way that no melanin (grey or brown coloration) is produced. Thus, a Lutino is a white or yellow bird with red eyes and an orange cheekpatch. Whiteface, however, affects the lipochrome (yellow and orange) pigment in such a way that no lipochrome is produced. Without either melanin or lipochrome, the resulting cockatiel lacks in any color and appears to be an albino. What's the difference? There's a big difference where genetic determination is concerned.

Genetically, the albino cockatiel is really combination mutation: Lutino-Whiteface. It is not it's own gene. The albino cockatiel cannot pass along one gene to produce another albino. Instead, one sex-linked Lutino gene and one autosomal recessive Whiteface gene are passed separately to the offspring. If a Lutino-Whiteface (Albino) male were mated to a normal hen, none of the resulting babies would be albino. Also, none of the resulting babies would be "split to albino," another misnomer. All the male offspring produced by this mating would be normal grey split to Lutino and Whiteface. The female babies would be Lutino split to whiteface. If there were a "true Albino" mutation, it would exist as a single gene, probably sex-linked, and all the female babies would look like their father.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
One more question....

To produce an all-White Cockatiel, obviously you cross a Whiteface with a Lutino, correct?

What if you breed a pair of Whiteface Lutinos - will they produce all Whiteface-Lutino babies or doesn't it work that way? Or is it one of those combinations that you don't breed together because of lethal gene combinations or something?
 
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