Ask Lafeber


September 8, 2020

4 month old lutino cockatiel

Does not have enough feather under his wings and every noticable bold spot in his head. Is that normal for his age ?


Hi Isaac,

The Lutino color mutation is like all cockatiel color mutations – it is caused by a gene mutation which is technically a defect. While this can happen in the wild, most mutations do not survive for very long in the wild. In captivity, in order to get Lutino, many cockatiels were initially inbred – bred to related birds. This causes defects and shorter than normal lifespans. This isn’t to say that all cockatiel mutations aren’t healthy, but they will never be as healthy and sound as the normal grey cockatiel that lives in the wild. One very common defect with lutino cockatiels is the bald spot on the head and sometimes other areas of sparse feathers. You are most likely never going to see a lutino cockatiel in a pet shop that doesn’t have a bald spot. It is very hard to breed this out of the mutation so when a breeder gets one without a pronounced bald spot, they keep it for breeding stock or sell it to another breeder that may breed for show quality. Hopefully this bird is just intended to be a pet. I would not breed him or her based on your description, as the bird would not produce healthy chicks and would just pass along the bad tendencies. Otherwise, enjoy him as a pet as there is no reason he can’t be a good pet.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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