Budgie Varieties with Grey Markings

There are four varieties to look at if you think your bird belongs to a budgie varieties with grey markings. These birds have markings that are either grey, a very pale grey or even reduced to be almost clear. This means the stripes on the head, down over the neck and the wing markings are some shade of grey.

The budgie varieties with grey markings are the greywing, clearwing, dilute and faded.


The markings of this variety are a strong grey, the tail is greyish blue, usually with a dark quill. They have the normal dark eye with white iris ring, and grey feet and legs. The body colour has been reduced to about ½ the strength of normal, and the cheek patches are pale violet (or pale blue or grey if the body color is grey). In exhibition circles the ideal is for the body colour to be closer to normal strength so they have been bred to have darker colour. This means you can find greywings with body colour from 50% to nearly normal. It would be a shame to lose the lovely pastel look of these birds so I hope people continue to breed them to look like they did originally.


This variety has the colour of its markings and its body greatly diluted. The body color has been reduced to a much paler shade of the basic color. This means that any blue or grey birds appear to be bluish, or greyish, white whilst birds of green color appear yellowish green. Often they are so pale as to be called suffused white or yellow, meaning they are that shade with only a pale wash of the green or blue body color visible.

The spots and barring of dilutes is pale grey, the wings are yellowish or whitish with very pale grey markings. The long tail feathers are either yellow or white with a suffusion of grey.The cheek patches are pale blue/violet, and they have normal dark eyes with a white iris ring. The dilute gene does not affect skin colour so the feet and legs of dilutes will be the normal grey shade. Often, however, birds with both cinnamon and dilute are bred as it reduces the body colour and creates a paler bird. The cinnamon give the bird pink skin, so you often see dilutes with pink feet and legs.


The clearwing budgie has normal body colouring, with only a little reduction in its strength. The spots, barring and wing markings should be either a pale grey or even totally absent. This leaves the bird with lovely white or yellow wings, though usually with pale head markings still visible. However, often these birds have pale grey markings that can be almost as dark as a greywing, making it difficult to tell which variety they are especially with greywings being bred with stronger body colour. The cheek patches on the clearwing should be normal violet rather than pale violet of a greywing though.

Clearwings have normal dark eyes with a white iris ring, grey legs and feet, normal colored ceres and pale grey tail feathers that should have clear shafts, but often are grey.

Here are two lovely chicks in a nestbox. They are a cobalt clearwing and a violet clearwing... can you pick the colour difference on the rumps? The violet has a slightly more intense, darker shade. They both have lovely clear wings with very little markings.

So what if we are not sure which type we have?

These three varieties can look very similar. For example, how do you tell a greywing from a clearwing with darker grey markings than usual?

The clearwing has normal strength body colour and cheek patch colour will be normal strong violet or grey. A greywing should have paler than usual body colour and pale violet or grey cheek patches. The final thing to consider is the tail, strong blue grey with a dark quill is a greywing, a clearwing tail will be a more neutral grey colour.

The dilute has more reduced colour and markings than the greywing, and the paler cheek patches than usual too and the long tail feathers will be yellowy or whitish grey.

The photo at the top of the page has a cobalt clearwing on the left and a cobalt greywing on the right. You can see the difference in body colour and cheek patch intensity.

However, just to confuse the issue totally...! There is something called a full bodied greywing. This is a bird with both greywing and clearwing genes, for some reason this combination causes another visual type. They have greywing type markings but have strong body colour and cheek patches. They can be very difficult to tell from heavily marked clearwings unless you know the parentage. In the older budgie books there is mention that greywings came in a dark and a light form, refering to the body colour. This could be talking about the standard greywing versus full bodied greywing, or it could mean that the greywing is a bit more complicated that it initially seems.

Those are the more common budgie varieties with grey markings, however there is also a very rare variety called Faded.


This variety has the colour of the body and markings reduced slightly, as though a little faded. The wing markings can be dark grey (darker than a greywing) or nearly black, and the body color is a bit paler than normal.

The chicks have red eyes when born, but they darken over the first few weeks. They have no iris ring for the first year or two of life but may develop one when older. The feet and legs are pink and sometimes the male has a slightly paler than normal colored beak and cere.

As this is a very rare variety it is unlikely you will come across one.

Remember that these can be combined with other varieties, such as opaline, spangle or one of the pied varieties, so it pays to check these out if your bird has any different from normal marking patterns as well as colour.

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