Budgie body colors, where should we start? How about with your basic green normal budgie. I like to think of this color as being made up of yellow and blue, mixed they give us the green body colour, while the blue is never present on the face leaving just yellow. If the yellow is not present then you get a blue budgie with a white face. The term body color refers only to the green, blue or grey color of the budgies body, not to the wing or face color. The face (also called mask) color is often referred to as the base color i.e. white or yellow. The wing colors are covered in the section on budgie varieties.
We can divide budgie body colors into two groups, the green series (all those with yellow present) and the blue series (all those without yellow, although there is one variety that puts yellow on a blue bird but that will be covered on the Budgie Varieties section).
There are three effects that we should cover before we discuss the individual colors; the dark factor, the grey and the violet.
Dark Factor - the dark factor creates three different shades. Each budgie can carry no dark factor genes, one dark gene, or two dark genes. Within the green series this results in light green (no dark factor gene), dark green (one dark factor gene) and olive (two dark factor genes). Likewise in the blue series you get skyblue (no dark factor gene), cobalt (one dark factor gene) and mauve (two dark factor genes).
Grey - this gene has the effect of making a blue budgie look grey with a white face, and a green budgie into what is called a grey green which has the yellow face. It basically washes a grey shade over the base color of the bird. This means a skyblue bird becomes a light grey, a cobalt becomes a medium grey and a mauve a dark grey, with the same in the grey greens. It can be difficult to tell them apart though so mostly they are just called grey or grey green.
Violet - the violet gene basically has a darkening and enriching effect on budgie body colors. It can be present in both green and blue series birds, but is most obvious in the blue series.
Slate - the slate is a very rare colour so you are not likely to come across it unless you are hunting for it. It has a similar effect to violet, a darkening and enriching effect, but rather than a violet hue, it produces a blue/grey slate shade. It can be present on any color bird, however it really only visual on the blue birds, and is best when on a skyblue bird.
So without further ado let’s look at the individual shades! I am going to talk only about the budgie body colors, we can talk about variations in markings on another page.
Light green - this is the original color of the budgie with no dark factors present, just a lovely bright grass green.
Dark green – the intermediate shade of green with one dark factor. It is darker and lacks the iridescence of light green. It can be tricky to show the difference in photos, in reality they are quite different side by side.
Olive – the darkest shade of green with two dark factors. It is almost a muddy green shade. This color can look a lot like grey green. They can be distinguished by the color of their cheek patches (violet blue in olive and greyish blue in grey green birds) and long tail feathers (dark blue in olive and black in grey green).
Grey green – the grey gene washes over the green to make a color similar to olive but with the different cheek patch and long tail feathers as described above. Grey greens can be light, medium or dark depending on how many dark factors are present.
The budgie on the right is a chick and therefore a paler shade, once it moults it will darken a little and become a stronger color, more like the olive above. If you compare its cheek patch with those of the olive you will see the difference as described above. The budgie on the left has silverish cheek patches due to it also being of the spangle variety, which will be discussed on another page. She is just here to give another example of a light grey green shade.
Violet – the violet gene behaves like the grey gene in that it washes over green base color and alters it. The effect is to darken and enrich the shade of green. This makes, for example, a light green bird with the violet gene look similar to a dark green. The color palette is a violet dark green.
Skyblue – the lightest shade of blue, with no dark factors. It is basically a light green bird with the yellow removed, leaving a lovely bright iridescent pale skyblue.
Cobalt – the medium shade of blue with one dark factor. Cobalt desribes this colour well. It is darker than skyblue and has lost the iridescence.
Mauve – mauve is the darkest blue with two dark factors. It can look muddy and greyish but is much bluer than a grey. If in doubt remember that a grey has grey cheek patches and a black tail whilst mauve has violet cheek patches and a blue tail.
Grey – the grey gene causes a grey wash over the blue body colour resulting in a grey bird. Remember that the grey gene also changes the cheek patches to grey and the tail feathers to black. Like the grey greens greys come in light, medium and dark depending on what shade of blue it is covering.
Violet – The violet gene works by causing a darkening and enriching of the birds base colour. It can, for example, make a skyblue appear cobalt. My first ever violet was a violet skyblue that I thought was cobalt. However after a few matings I realised she wasn't, and on inspection I noticed that above her wings in the neck region her color was a richer more violet than the cobalt elsewhere. This can sometimes provide a clue to the presence of violet. The most beautiful of these is the violet cobalt, which shows the strong violet colour and is therefore often called a visual violet. The lovely bird on the right is a visual violet, they are often not that strongly violet, more of a rich cobalt.
These are the basic budgie body colors, as they are found when not altered by the mutations that have created the many varieties that budgies come in. We will cover these (opaline, spange, ino, pieds etc) in another page as they work separately from the budgie body color.