There are three budgie varieties with pied markings. Pied markings basically means that areas of body color and/or wing markings and barring are missing, leaving a clear patch of white or yellow. In some cases this creates a budgie with just a few white or yellow patches and sometimes it gives a bird that is nearly all white or yellow.
These lovely pieds are also known as Danish pieds or Harlequins. They are mostly base color (yellow or white) rather than body color (blue, grey or green). The body color is in splotches most often on the lower half of the body. The barring and wing markings of Recessive Pieds are also blotchy with large areas of yellow or white present, though most birds have a patch of barring on each side of their head, near their eyes.
Recessive pieds have solid dark eyes with no iris ring, they have pink feet and legs and the males have a flesh colored cere whilst the female has the usual brown cere.
The colour on a Recessive Pied is often brighter than normal making them very attractive. The degree of body colour and markings can vary from almost none to being almost normal looking, but there will always be patches of base color present.
This variety of pied can look almost like the Normal variety. The distinguishing features are the clear primary wing feathers and long tail feathers. These will be either white or yellow depending on the color of the budgie. (The primary wing feathers are the long ones.) The budgie will often also have a clear patch on the back of its head.
Sometimes the base color will extend down from the face onto the breast of the bird, but there shouldn't be patches elsewhere on the body. Likewise, sometimes the pied markings are reduced and only a few feathers are white or yellow. I think the nicest Clearflights are the ones with minimal pied markings, just the clear flight feathers and tail feathers and the head patch.
Clearflights have normal dark eyes with a white iris ring, normal cere color and cheek patches, and their feet and legs can be grey or pink.
They are often very like Dominant Pieds, which are more common. The way to distinguish them is that Dominant Pieds usually have pied patches separate from the mask, whilst Clearflights usually have pied patches that are attached to the mask, like the picture on the left above.
This type of pied comes two forms, also called the Australian Pied and the Banded Pied. They are genetically the same variety but have been bred for markings in different areas.
They have pied markings on their wings and body, and may have a clear patch on the back of the head. They may therefore have clear flight feathers and tail feathers. They have normal eyes, grey or flesh colored feet and legs, and normal cere colors.
In the Australian type the pied patches are irregularly shaped and scattered over the body and wings. The Banded Pied is mostly normally coloured but with a band of white or yellow running around its middle (as on the bird to the right). This band usually also covers the wings, leaving the lower part of them clear of markings.
The pied areas can be variable of course and sometimes it is tricky to tell this type of pied from a heavily marked Clearflight. The main thing that distinguishes a Dominant Pied from a heavily marked Clearflight is the location of the pied patches. In a Clearflight the mask color may creep down the chest a bit. In a Dominant Pied the definition between the mask and body color is usually normal and the pied patches appear further down the body.
Now as if this isn’t tricky enough, a double factor Dominant Pied also looks different! They have a lot more yellow or white present all over the body so that they look very much like a Recessive pied…however, they will usually have a white iris ring which a Recessive pied will not.
The Mottled is a very interesting variety. It starts off looking like an ordinary budgie until it moults. Each time it moults is grows back a few more feathers that are plain yellow (on a green bird) or white (on a blue or grey bird). This means that not only do they change their appearance with each moult, but they soon look like an oddly marked pied. The most obvious way to tell if you have a mottled is the dramatic changes in its colour over time, in all other ways it is a normal budgie.
Now that we have covered the budgie varieties with pied markings, you should take a god look at your bird and see if it also belongs to any other varieties. It may have wing markings that are a different from the normal in colour or pattern, so check out those pages too if you suspect anything...