Opaline budgies, mutation, genetics, varieties [+PHOTOS]

Leslie Berry
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Opaline budgies are a well-known variety of budgies all over the world.

An opaline budgie has an opaline mutation that changes the pattern of the budgie’s body and color. The opaline mutation is a sex-linked and recessive mutation transferred with the “X” gene.

Opaline budgie characteristics are listed as follows:

  • The opaline mutation reduces the intensity of the striations (dark lines) between the top of the head, neck, and wings.
  • The opaline budgies have body colors (blue, green, gray, etc.) instead of base colors (white or yellow) on their wing feathers’ edges. Some wing feathers may have a blue, green, gray, violet, yellow, white, etc. center, middle black line, and body-colored line at the outer.
  • Opaline budgies often have an opalescence effect on their back wings, which gives the variety its name, called “Opaline.”
  • The opaline mutation transforms body colors between 10% and 20% lighter.
  • Opaline budgies have full-width white or yellow stripes on the flight feathers that a part of the stripe can be seen while the bird is perching.
  • The opaline mutation is sex-linked, recessive, and transferred with the X chromosome.
  • Opaline budgies often have violet cheek patches.
  • The tail feathers are mostly deep blue in color and may also have white or yellow feathers.
  • Opaline budgies have blue to gray feet colors.
  • Opaline budgies have dark-black eyes with iris rings.
  • Male opaline budgies have medium blue cere color; females have light blue or white cere color. During the mating season, males have a deeper blue cere color; females have a bronze/tan cere color with a crusty-looking surface.

Opaline mutation reduces the intensity of the striations between the top of the head, neck, and wings.

Normal budgies have lines between the top of the head, the neck, and wings. Opaline mutation nearly removes the lines and gives the budgie’s top and head back area a beautiful appearance.

The absence of darker stripes on the back and upper back causes a “V” shaped appearance in opalescent budgies.

Opaline budgies & opaline mutation
Opaline mutation removes the lines between the top of the head, neck, and wings.

Opaline mutation replaces the base color with the body-color

Opaline budgies have wing feathers modified by the opaline gene.

Normal budgies have wing feathers with dark markings, and the markings have base colors (white or yellow) under them. The opaline mutation replaces the base colors with the budgie’s body color, which can be blue, green, gray, etc.

The opaline gene replaces the base color with body color.
The opaline gene replaces the base color with body color.

Opaline mutation transforms the body-color

The opaline budgies have approximately 10% lighter body colors all over the body.

A 10% color light color gives the opaline budgies a brighter look than other same-color budgies.

A slightly lighter/brighter body color causes the budgie to look bigger than other same-sized and non-opaline budgies.

What is the opalescence (opalescent) effect on opaline budgies?

The name “opal” origins from a stone called opal stone. The “opalescence” refers to the optical characteristic that opal stones have.

Opaline budgies & opaline mutation
A stone photo that has an opalescence characteristic.

The opaline budgies have feathers that show an opalescence characteristic in the back of the feathers. This is where the name “Opaline budgies” comes from.

Opaline budgies & opaline mutation
The photograph shows the opacity characteristic of an opaline budgie’s feather. The cage bars are visible through the feathers.

Opaline budgie with other mutations & varieties

Opaline budgies can have the opaline mutation alone or coexist with other mutations.

Thanks to the power of combinations of mutations, breeders can produce many new and remarkable budgie varieties with opaline mutations.

Opaline sky blue budgie

Sky blue opaline budgie
Sky blue opaline budgie photo

Opaline sky blue spangle budgie

Breeders often mix opaline and spangle mutations.

Sky blue opaline spangle budgie
Sky blue opaline spangle budgie

Opaline cobalt budgie

Opaline cobalt budgie
Opaline cobalt budgie photo (Source: world-budgerigar.org)

Opaline violet budgie

Opaline violet budgie
Opaline violet budgie photo

Opaline gray budgie

Opaline gray budgie
Opaline gray budgie photo (Source: world-budgerigar.org)

Opaline mauve budgie

Opaline goldenface mauve budgie
Opaline goldenface mauve budgie (Source: Flourish)

Albino (full white), lutino (full yellow) opaline budgies

Albino and lutino budgies have the ino gene that removes all pigmentation from the budgie’s body. The budgies only have base colors (white or yellow) with red eyes. Therefore, albino or lutino budgies may not show opaline mutation features in their appearance.

Opaline green budgie

Green opaline budgies are green series budgies with opaline mutations.

Green opaline budgie
Green opaline budgie (Right)

Opaline olive budgie

Olive green opaline budgie
Olive green opaline budgie photo (Source: world-budgerigar.org)

Opaline spangle green budgie

Opaline spangle light green budgie
Opaline spangle light green budgie photo (Source: talkbudgies.com)

Opaline cinnamon budgie

Opaline and cinnamon mutations are two different mutations, and both change the appearance of budgerigars. The mutations combine with varying body colors (green, blue, gray, olive, etc.) and produce many varieties of budgerigar colors.

Opaline cinnamon gray green budgie
Opaline cinnamon gray green budgie photo (Source: world-budgerigar.org)
Opaline cinnamon sky blue budgie
Opaline cinnamon sky blue budgie photo (Source: world-budgerigar.org)

Opaline dilute budgie

Opaline dilute budgie
Opaline dilute budgie image (Source: screenshot from video)

Opaline budgie rainbow

The rainbow budgie refers to the combination of mutations which are opaline, clearwing (whitewing), and yellowface or goldenface in the blue series. All rainbow budgies have the opaline mutation.

Rainbow opaline budgie
Opaline rainbow budgie image (Source: zucht-von-salza.de)

Opaline yellowface budgie

Opaline yellowface budgie
Opaline yellowface budgie

Opaline goldenface budgie

Opaline goldenface budgie
Opaline goldenface budgie

Opaline Texas clear body (TCB) budgie

Opaline and Texas clear body mutation, both sex-linked mutations combination that makes the combination relatively rare.

Opaline Texas clear body (TCB) budgie
Opaline budgies & opaline mutation

Opaline pied budgie

Opaline pied budgie
Opaline pied budgie photo (Source: talkbudgies.com)

Opaline fallow budgie

Opaline fallow budgie
Opaline fallow budgie

Opaline lacewing budgie

Opaline lacewing budgie
Opaline lacewing budgie photo (Source: forums.budgiebreeders.asn.au)

Opaline clearwing budgie

Opaline clearwing budgie
Opaline clearwing budgie

Opaline greywing budgie

Opaline greywing budgie
Opaline greywing budgie (Source: reddit.com)

Opaline English budgie

English budgies are one of the earliest budgie mutations. English budgies have bigger bodies than native wild budgies. All English budgie types can have an opaline mutation.

Opaline English and exhibition budgie
Opaline English and exhibition budgie photo (Source: world-budgerigar.org)

Opaline female and opaline male budgies

Opaline males and females that are visually opaline have the same visual appearance.

Opaline budgie genetics

The opaline budgie mutation is a relatively well-known sex-linked and recessive budgerigar mutation. Many budgerigar breeders have mixed the opaline gene with other mutations, resulting in many visual varieties.

How to breed opaline budgies?

The opaline mutation is a sex-linked and recessive mutation transferred with the “X” gene.

Female budgies have only one X gene. If a female budgie has an opaline gene, that means the budgie will be a visual opaline budgie.

Male budgies have two X genes. If a male budgie has two opaline genes, that means the budgie will be a visual opaline budgie. If a male budgie has only one opaline gene, that means the budgie is a split (hidden) opaline.

Split or hidden opaline budgies do not show opaline budgie characteristics. However, they transfer the opaline gene to the next generation of budgies. Without lab tests, no one can tell whether an unknown budgie is a split opaline budgie or not without ancestral genetic information.

Breeders need to know the parents’ genetic information to tell if a baby budgie is a split opaline.

Opaline budgie breeding expectations table/chart

PairingsExpectations
Opaline x Opaline100% Opaline
Opaline Male x Normal FemaleMales: 50% Normal/Opaline Females: 50% Opaline
Normal/Opaline Male x Opaline FemalesMales: 25% Opaline, 25% Normal/Opaline
Females: 25% Opaline, 25% Normal
Normal/Opaline Male x
Normal Females
Males: 25% Normal/Opaline, 25% Normal
Females: 25% Opaline, 25% Normal
Normal Males x
Opaline Females
Males: 50% Normal/Opaline
Females: 50% Normal
Opaline budgie breeding expectations table/chart
Are opaline budgies rare?

Opaline budgies cannot be considered rare. Many budgie breeders and enthusiasts have popularized the opaline mutation by combining it with other mutations worldwide.

Resources:

  1. https://www.world-budgerigar.org/colourstds.htm