Pastelface

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Aka: Paleface / Aqua
Mutation: Parblue (Aqua)
Inheritance: Autosomal recessive – dominant to whiteface and creamface
Psittacine altering mutation.
Photo left: Homozygous pastelface split to pied male.

The paleface is still better known as the pastelface. The pastelface reminds the wild-type grey but the psittacine pigments are reduced making all the red and yellow tones much paler. This means also the body, for example the yellow tail bars, crest and every part where yellow can be found.

The pastelface belongs to the family of the blue mutation, meaning that pastelface, whiteface and creamface are alleles. Normally the pastelface is just autosomal recessive and a gene from both of the parents to become visual, but it dominates over whiteface. Pastelface is dominant also to creamface.

The sex of the pastelface cockatiel can be told the same way as with the wild-type grey. The hen has greyish face and the striped tail, as usually, and the cock has the pastel colored face and dark tail feathers.

As Terry Martin has proposed, pastelface should be more likely to be called paleface. Pastel is an exicting color for other parrots and refers to a color where the melanine is reduced, thus calling this pale faced mutation “pastel” is incorrect.

You may also hear sometimes people talking about single factor or double factor pastelfaces, SF referring to a bird with one pf gene and one wf gene, and DF referring to a bird with two pastelface genes. However, this would be an incorrect, since single factor and double factor are terms that only refer to co-dominant mutations like dominant silver. A heterozygous and homozygous would be more accurate, or we can talk about pastelface-whitefaces when wanting to hilight that the bird carries both of the genes. A bird with two pastelface genes looks often slightly more well saturated and the cheek tone is near to orange, especially if it’s been bred in a line that has good color quality. Whiteface then again causes a bird with only one pastelface gene to appear paler and yellowish.

Gene behind the color: Parblue – Aqua

Pastelface is an allele for whiteface. The whiteface color is caused by a gene called blue. Blue is responsible of the blue color of parrots and is autosomal recessive, meaning that the gene is needed from both of the parents. The gene doesn’t actually cause the blue color itself, instead it removes other colors away so that blue coloration is left. To be more accurate, blue removes psittacine: yellow and blue. Thus, a green parrot would become blue and all the red, yellow and orange parts are left without pigment, and only white is left.

Whiteface also has sibling genes. These gene siblings that belong to the blue gene family but remove psittacine only partially, are called “parblue” – partial blue. If the parrot would be green, only part of the psittacine would disappear and the result would be more towards to blue – but still not purely cold blue. So the parblues are somewhere in the scale from blue to green. This is important to understand to also understand cockatiel colors. And, because cockatiels can’t have the real blue color, the effect of parblue can be best seen from the yellow and red getting more pale.

Parblue colors are for example “aqua” and “turquoise”. Aqua is a color where psittacine is resuced to 50%, turquoise has only around 20% psittacine left. So: pastelface is actually aqua and creamface is turquoise.

Like the blue gene, also parblues (pastelface, creamface, goldface) are autosomal recessives, but because they are each others alleles they have a bit different inheritance behavior towards each other. Most often a parblue dominates blue. So if there’s one whiteface gene and one pastelface gene, the pastelface (that normally would be a split in this situation) becomes completely visible. Pastelface dominates also other parblue allele, creamface.

With Whiteface:

– A whiteface can’t be split to pastelface (Whiteface needs two genes to become visible and after that there aren’t any space in the locus for other alleles.)
– …but a pastelface can be split to whiteface (1 gene of wf, 1 gene of pf)
– A grey can be split to whiteface
– A grey can be split to pastelface
– …but a grey can’t be split to both pastelface and whiteface (because then the pastelface would be visible.)

With Creamface:

– A creamface can’t be split to pastelface (Creamface needs two genes to become visible and after that there aren’t any space in the locus for other alleles.)
– …but a pastelface can be split to creamface (1 gene of cf, 1 gene of pf)
– A grey can be split to creamface
– A grey can be split to pastelface
– …but a grey can’t be split to both pastelface and creamface (because then the pastelface would be visible.)

Picture examples

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Young pastelface-whiteface changing the mask.

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Pastelface olive, Photo: Paolo

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Whiteface dominant silver and pastelface dominant silver. Photo: Patrick Konz.

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Pastelface double factor dominant silver. Photo: Patrick Konz.

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Pastelface dominant silver. Photo: Patrick Konz

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Pastelface lutino. Photo: Patrick Konz