Albino or Lutino Budgie
The Lovely Inos

Albino and Lutino budgies

The Albino budgie variety (and the Lutino too) are created by the Ino gene, so are often just called Inos. The Ino gene removes all the melanin (the substance that creates all the dark colors in the feathers, skin and eyes). So a blue series budgie becomes white and all the green series ones become yellow. Albino is the term for a white Inos, Lutino is the term for a yellow Ino.

Recognising a Lutino or Albino Budgie

The Ino gene removes the dark shade from the skin and beak leaving the bird with pink legs and an orange beak. It removes the blue shade from the cocks cere too so they have a flesh/skin colored cere whilst the hen is the usual rough brown shade as this is not caused by melanin. The dark color of the eye is also gone leaving a red eye with a white iris ring (sometimes no iris ring is present), and the cheek patches are silvery white.

Albino hen budgerigar

The hen on the left shows the red eyes and orange beak that help identify an Ino.

On the right is an Ino and below it a very similar variety called the Double Factor Spangle. These two can be easily confused however, you can see that the Spangle's eye, beak, cere and legs are darker than the albinos as it still has melanin present in these areas.

Usually only the white and yellow colors are left, so an Ino can hide the fact that it also has other varieties present. This is referred to as masking, so an Ino may be masking Spangle, or Dominant Pied etc. You would not be able to see these varieties but they are present in the genes adn could be passed on to offspring. The only varieties that should show are the Yellow Faces or Golden Faces on an Albino budgie, as seen below. These are sometimes called Creaminos and they look this way because the yellow colour is not caused melanin, so is not removed.

Yellow Faced Albino budgerigars

The only exception to the above rule is the Lacewing budgie, a composite of Cinnamon and Ino. In their case the Cinnamon and Ino genes are present on the same chromosome and for some reason light brown markings and pale violet cheek patches are visible. This makes a lovely white or yellow bird with pale brown markings! The Lacewing is often spoken of as if it was a variety, but it is actually a composite (the same as a Spangle Opaline, or Cinnamon Recessive Pied for example) as it is made up of Ino and Cinnamon. The Ino and Cinnamon tend to be inherited together so it appeared to be a new variety at first, so was given its own name.

The other interesting thing that can happen is that sometimes a faint 'suffusion' of the body color can show in certain lights. The Ino budgie above on the right has a tiny bit of blue suffusion showing by its wing and under its tail. This is not an actual patch of blue body colour.

There is a lovely variety called the Texas Clearbody. This variety arose from a mutation to the Ino gene and so is related to Inos genetically, but will be discussed separately. You can see more images of Inos on the right, from my Ino Pinterest board. The board includes Lacewings and Texas Clearbodys as they belong to the Ino group of varieties.

Ino Genetics

The Ino gene is represented by the symbol ino, (with wild type being ino+) and its inheritance is sex-linked and recesssive. Check out the Budgie Genetics page if that doesn't make sense...

Lutino budgie

This means the basic inheritance works like this:

Ino x Ino = 100% Ino chicks

Ino cock x Normal hen =

-50% Normal/Ino cocks
-50% Ino hens

Normal cock x Ino hen =

-50% Normal/Ino cocks
-50% Normal hens

Normal/Ino cock x Normal hen =

-25% Normal cocks
-25% Normal/Ino cocks
-25% Ino hens
-25% Normal hens

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Albino cock, with blue suffusion
Double Factor Spangle budgie