Those Cuddly, Colorful Quakers!
("A Look At Quaker Mutations")
by Theresa Jordan
[Parts of the following excerpt were taken from "Introduction to Quaker Parakeets"]
Those cuddly, lovable quaker parakeets, with their mischievous nature and spell-binding charm, are quickly becoming one of the most popular avian companions available. Cited as one of the "top ten best talkers" by Bird Talk Magazine, quaker parakeets are fun-loving, active, and can charm their way into your heart in the blink of an eye. The growing popularity of this species is further enhanced by their extremely reasonable price, making them one of the most affordable companion birds currently in existence.
While the most widely available (and least expensive) color continues to be the normal green, their sky-rocketing popularity has convinced many quaker breeders to expand, and mutations are currently being bred by several aviculturists in and outside of the United States. These mutations don't appear to have many personal characteristics that are different from the normal greens with the exception of being slightly smaller in body build and reportedly perhaps not quite as prolific. One extremely rare mutation is the strikingly beautiful yellow Quaker, with coloration of pure buttercup yellow; the forehead and underparts appearing a grayish white. This mutation has dark eyes. The yellow coloration is believed to be a simple
recessive color mutation.
As noted, the body build of this lutino appears to be slightly more slender than the normal greens. While I haven't yet heard of any yellow quakers for sale in any large quantities in the United States, (I suspect most babies are being held back for use as future breeders) they are being attempted by many aviculturists, and hopefully yellow quaker babies will be more commonly available within the next few years. This photo is supplied courtesy of fellow quaker breeder
Tom Nemerovsky---see additional photos of his yellow quakers
A similar mutation is the lutino quaker, also with the yellow colorations but having red eyes. I have heard rumor of there being a lutino quaker in existence in Florida as well as an albino mutation, but apparently the owners wish to remain anonymous.
Not as rare as the yellow and becoming well established in aviculture, the blue mutation is a simple recessive trait, and this coloration is becoming much more widely available, albeit moderately expensive. This color mutation can best be described as a powdery soft Wedgewood, with cheeks, throat and breast a silvery blue-gray. The wings are a deep striking blue, and the underside is iridescent. The blue mutation also has dark eyes. The current going price appears to fluctuate from $800 to $1200 each, depending on geographical location. Quakers that are split-to-blue (a visual green quaker which carries the gene for producing the blue mutations) normally sell for around $450.00. The accompanying photo of a normal green and a visual blue was graciously donated by fellow quaker breeder
Newell Bench, and is used in full color on the cover of
"The Quaker Parakeet HandBookThe Quaker Parakeet HandBook".[More of Newell's photos of quaker mutations can be found via the link below this article.]
Additional color mutations currently being successfully bred or attempted include a pied, (with characteristics similar to the green but including yellow feathers); an albino mutation of pure white; and a cinnamon mutation. The beautiful cinammon mutation is a pale, diluted green with cinammon on the flight feathers and tail, like the one shown here [a normal green is on the right]. The cinammon coloration produces a bird with jeweled tones of lime-green, and sports many yellow undertones which lighten with age. The Cinnamon mutation is sex-linked, meaning
that according to statistics, a split male paired with a normal green female would produce
50% normal green females and 50% visual Cinnamon females. Cinammon quakers are a relatively new mutation, and prices appear to be quite high, in the upper $2000.00 range.
In theory, all of the color mutations that are found with budgies --- violet, cobalt blue, gray, pied --- are entirely possible to produce in Quakers! These color mutations are quite strikingly beautiful, and the exciting possibility of an entirely new future mutation is an inspiration to many devoted Quaker breeders, presenting a promising future for these lovable little birds.
© Theresa Jordan
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First Registered: 3/1/1997