Imagine getting a parakeet of your favorite color only to see it change color after some time. You can only ask yourself, do parakeets change color? Find out in this article!
As a parakeet owner, it’s important to know if the color of your pet bird can change over time.
This awareness lets you know if the change in coloring is natural or not.
Where the coloring is natural, this change signals to you that your pet is going through a process.
Where the change is rare or unnatural, this at least indicates that your parakeet is feeling unwell.
Ok, so do parakeets change color?
Parakeets do change colors when they are growing from chick to maturity. A parakeet’s final coloring becomes permanent once it reaches maturity. After reaching maturity, it will not change color for the rest of its life.
The final, mature color of a budgie chick is determined by its genes, according to AFA Watchbird.
As a starting point, note that only the green series parakeets can be naturally found in the wild.
So, all other budgie colors are the result of selective breeding and genetic mutations.
As your parakeet ages, genetic changes might increase the amount of extra coloration it gets.
Other pigments may be lost in the process of mutations, leaving only your budgie’s base color.
All parakeets start with one base coloring no matter their mutation and coloring.
Other colors are developed on top of this base color.
For example, green series budgies have a yellow base color. The primary color of blue series parakeets is white.
The parakeet may blend the colors in odd patterns or maintain its primary color if it has a genetic mutation.
Do parakeets change color with age?
Parakeets change color as they age from chick to adult. During this period, parakeets will undergo their first molt and grow into their full, adult color. Once fully grown, Parakeets do not change color again. If they do, this may indicate an illness, complication, stress, or disease.
So expect your chick to develop additional coloring as they grow older.
If your parakeet changes color after maturity, closely examine and reach out to the vet.
What makes parakeets change color?
A parakeet may experience a color change due to any of these factors; maturity, molting, feathers damage, illness & disease, fungal growth, and parasites.
Color change at maturity is a natural part of a young parakeet’s growth process, except for a few color varieties that do not show these changes.
Before his first molt or feather change, a young parakeet will have a striped pattern on a major part of his head and dots on his wings.
These new feathers will mainly be solid colors rather than patterned, changing the appearance of the young bird and leaving behind only a small patch of striped feathers in the head.
It’s normal for parakeets to experience a change of color during this period.
Although some parakeets molt more frequently than others, it is common for a parakeet to molt once or twice a year.
Parakeets molt by shedding their feathers and replacing them with new ones.
Patches of new feathers appear close to patches of old feathers during this process.
New feathers are often brighter or more vividly colored than old feathers that are about to die and fall out.
For parakeets, molting follows an even pattern.
For example, both sides of the head molt in the same pattern and at the same time.
So, if you notice a group of unusual colored feathers in only one spot, such as on one wing but not the other, the cause is unlikely to be molting.
Damaged or dirty feathers
Feathers that are damaged or dirty can appear more different than surrounding plumage.
A feather that has been damaged by parasites, bent or broken will usually appear darker than the rest of the plumage.
A discolored area on the bird’s body could be caused by a collection of damaged feathers.
Feather damage can be caused by over-handling by humans, over-grooming by the bird, and dragging or snagging on the cage bars.
Illness and disease
Color change in parakeets can also be caused by illness or disease.
Some signs of illness in a parakeet include a change in appetite, a puffed-up appearance, depression, lethargy, as well as feather damage or discoloration.
However, certain illnesses have few outward symptoms, and some birds are good at concealing signs of illness.
For example, a liver disease might cause groups of brightly colored feathers to appear.
Contact your veterinarian if your parakeet’s color changes without a reasonable cause, such as molting, or if you fear he’s sick.
A budgie’s stress bars are a common sign that he or she is sick.
The pigmentation and strength of the feathers are both affected, resulting in broad lines across the plumage.
Parasites and fungal growth
Feathers in parakeets can also be damaged by fungal or parasite infections.
And while this infection may not cause immediate harm to the bird, it can lead to other health problems.
As a result of fungal infection, birds may develop black streaks on their backs and wings, according to the University of Miami.
A parakeet, for example, is more vulnerable to aspergillosis, a mold-related respiratory infection.
When parakeets are kept in small, unclean environments, they are more likely to get fungal infections which can be life-threatening.
So, regularly sanitize and maintain the cage, and allow your budgie to spend some time outside of it.
Also, remember to remove food after 2 hours and wipe up spills.
Take your budgie to the vet if it develops a fungal infection.
To eradicate the growth, a professional might prescribe the appropriate antifungal medication.
The feathers on your budgie will not recover, but they will naturally be replaced during a molt.
One of the first things you’ll notice about a malnourished parakeet is its plumage condition.
The dull, discolored, and changing texture of your parakeet primary and tail feathers may be a symptom of a nutritional deficiency or malnutrition.
So, if your parrot is malnourished, its feathers may fall out or change color.
Consult your veterinarian on your parakeet’s nutrition, especially if the feathers are changing color for no reason.
Do baby parakeets change color?
The color of a baby parakeet plumage will naturally change as they grow older. A green series budgie, for example, may appear yellow as a chick with tufts of white down. Its wings may have black stripes but no visible green coloring. However, as it molts and matures, the green coloring will take over and dominate the majority of the yellow.
The cere of your bird will also change as it grows. The cere is the fleshy part of the nose above the beak.
Budgies have a pale pink cere at the start of their lives.
In females, maturity causes the cere to turn brown, light blue, tan, or white.
Males will have a bright blue cere unless they have a mutation.
Do parakeets cere change color?
Parakeets cere do change color as this signals that they are growing into adulthood or that breeding season has arrived. If the change is severe or your budgie exhibits other symptoms, your budgie may be sick.
In male parakeets, check for brown and crusty ceres. In females, look for completely blue ceres.
The absence of white specks in a blue cere can indicate a hormonal imbalance.
Brown ceres can however be a symptom of a testicular tumor in males.
Brown ceres can also sometimes be an indication of vitamin A deficiency in both males and females.
This can be paired with scaly face mites or arsenic poisoning.
Extreme stress can cause white and red ceres in both sexes.
How does a parakeet change color?
Budgies’ colors change as they grow older, but only when aging from chick to adult. Budgies will go through their first molt and develop their full adult colors during this time. Budgies do not change color once they reach adulthood. If they do, it means they are sick; they have a disease, are stressed, or had complications during their adult molts.
Do yellow parakeets turn green?
A yellow parakeet can turn green while growing into adulthood if it is a green series parakeet as green series budgies have a yellow base color.
When a green series parakeet is a chick, it may appear yellow with white tuffs down.
The wings may have black strips with no obvious green coloring.
However, the green coloring becomes dominant once it molts and matures.
Why is my white parakeet turning yellow?
Your white parakeet may be turning yellow if it is molting or suffering from a disease.
For example, liver disease may cause white parakeets to turn bright yellow.
This is rare, so proper diagnostic tests by your avian veterinarian are recommended.
Related: What Color Parakeet Should I Get?