Pearl Cockatiels

The female Pearl often matures with a yellow face. The male will lose most or all of his pearling by the second molt.

An excellent female specimen will show heavy pearling on her back and wings, with some pearling extending into her chest. An excellent male will retain some evidence of his original pearling.

Pearl is another common pattern. It is the pretty speckled patterning that covers the body of the tiel. It is different to the pied, in that each individual feather is patterned. Each feather has the white/yellow spot/s on it, causing a lacing/spotting/speckling effect. It can vary in its exact pattern on the feather, some being a heavy lacy pattern, others being a light spotting. Some are concentrated over the back and wings, and others cover the whole body evenly.

There is a very unique characteristic about the pearl gene, in that most mature males loose the speckling effect over time, whereas the females retain it. Upon the first moult of a male pearled tiel, it will loose much of its �speckles’. Though he will retain some scattered spots, they too will dissipate over several moults. Occasional males will not loose their speckling, but the majority of them do. All females will retain their patterning, making them often the preferred gender of this mutation! Remember that even though a male may loose his patterning, and end up looking like a normal male, he still is a pearl, and still carries the pearl genes.

6 thoughts on “Pearl Cockatiels”

  1. I recently purchased a male (?) pearl/pied cockatiel. The breeder said she was pretty sure he is a male, does not guarantee it. He is heavily speckled; I guess those spots are the “pearls?” It sounds like he will eventually lose those speckles. But he will retain his pied characteristics, right? What marks a cockatiel as a “pied?”

  2. Jana

    A male pearl typically loses the pearl markings at some point. Each bird is different and the addition of pied markings can lengthen the time it takes for the pearl markings to disappear. On rare occasions, the pearls stay either as very faint “ghost” markings or may be visible in one or two small groups.

    A Pied bird is one who has large areas of grey pigment missing. It creates a marbled effect with areas of white or yellow where there should be gray. Pieds can be “clear pied” meaning they have very little to no grey and appear to be a lutino or they can be heavy pied, having lots of white/yellow feathers and less than half their body marked with grey or light pied meaning they have only one or two flight feathers or tailfeathers that are white/yellow. A Split to pied is a bird who carries the pied gene and may have a couple of white or yellowish feathers on the head or neck.

  3. Hi I very confuse about which is the male and the female in a pearl Cockatiel please help me ?

  4. I have a cinnamon pearl that is around 10 months. Because of her quietness and absent heart wing behavior I presumed her to be female. She had a heavy moult last month and we noticed a little of her pearls have disappeared, albeit very little have disappeared (just off her lower back and neck areas). She still have us thinking she might be female because she does not carry a tune at 10 months of age. She does not display neither male nor female hormonal behaviours yet. My question is can a female pearl loose a little pearling, or is any lost of pearling indicative of being male? Oh btw, her tail feathers are still yellow, the two she’s lost has been replaced with yellow feathers that has small dark grey tips the size of a pea and the underside has less lines. Thanks.

  5. Hi..I have a baby pearl cockatiel his name is loudy. My husband bought the parents and from their first batch of babies we got 2 white/yellow red eye lutino and the pearl baby. I’m confused about my baby’s gender some say he can be a male and some say it can be a female. I’m watching his behavior and to me he’s the most curious and loudest. I’m a new mom to my baby Loudy and his sister sunny the lutino baby. I’d love to send you some pictures so you’re able to see them and maybe help me figure this out. Loudy is about 35 to 36 days old. Thank you

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