AGAPORNIS MUTATIONS: ROSEICOLLIS
THE MUTATIONS OF THE AGAPORNIS ROSEICOLLIS
Agapornis, also known as lovebirds, are a type of small African parrot species appreciated as companion parrots.
The Agapornis genus includes nine different species:
Agapornis canus – Malagasy lovebird;
Agapornis fischeri – Fischer’s lovebird;
Agapornis lilianae – Lilian’s lovebird;
Agapornis nigrigenis – Black-cheeked lovebird;
Agapornis personatus – Yellow-collared lovebird;
Agapornis pullarius – Red-faced lovebird;
Agapornis roseicollis – Peach-faced lovebird;
Agapornis swinderniana – Swindern’s lovebird;
Agapornis taranta – Abyssinian lovebird.
This Agapornis is characterized by having a green body, an orange mask that almost turns red on the forehead and lightens as it descends towards the chest. The back of the head is olive bronze, and the rump is blue. The beak is bright red, the legs are gray, and the nails are dark gray. The most noticeable difference compared to roseicollis is the presence of an eye ring.
This Agapornis, measuring between 14 and 15 cm, is characterized by having a black head like a mask. Similar to Fischer’s lovebird, it has a white eye ring and an intense red beak. The original color of this lovebird is green, with the neck and upper chest ranging from yellow to orange. The legs are gray, and the nails are dark gray.
Also known as the Peach-faced Lovebird, it is native to arid regions of southwestern Africa. They are sociable birds that live in small groups in their natural habitat. They eat throughout the day and take frequent baths. They are known for their intense and constant chirping. They form strong bonds with their mates but are territorial with others of their species.
The ancestral Agapornis roseicollis is about 15 cm in size, generally green with a salmon-pink head that becomes more intense towards the forehead, a blue rump, and a bone-colored beak. The feet are gray, and the nails are almost black. There is virtually no sexual dimorphism between males and females, although females may be slightly larger with more subdued colors.
To understand how mutations affect the plumage color of Agapornis roseicollis, we first need to know a bit about their feathers. In the feathers of these birds, two different pigments can be found:
Eumelanin: This is the dark pigment that causes blue coloration in feathers and black in the case of wing feathers.
Psittacin: There are three types of psittacin, and they are responsible for the yellow, orange, and red colors in feathers.
Mutations are classified based on how they are transmitted to offspring:
DOMINANT MUTATION AGAPORNIS ROSEICOLLIS
In roseicollis, we can distinguish several dominant mutations like harlequin, violet, and dark factors.
For a dominant mutation to be passed on to offspring, it is only necessary for one of the parents to have the mutation.
Dark factors, as the name suggests, darken colors. For example, a green-line Agapornis with a dark factor will have a D (jade) green color, and with two dark factors, it will have a DD (olive) green color. The same applies to blue-line Agapornis.
Violet Mutation: This mutation turns blue into violet and becomes visible in the fluffy part of the feathers.
Harlequin Mutation: This results in birds with unique and colorful patterns. Certain parts of the skin lack pigment cells, so the feathers appear yellow in those areas.
RECESSIVE MUTATION AGAPORNIS ROSEICOLLIS
Regarding recessive mutations, there are aqua, turquoise, orange face, marbled, etc. These mutations need to be present on both chromosomes of the Agapornis for the bird to exhibit them externally. If it is only on one chromosome, the bird will be a carrier of the mutation but will not display it.
For recessive mutations to manifest in offspring, both parents must carry the mutation. These mutations affect psittacin, which is a natural pigment in parrots that produces red, orange, and yellow feather colors.
Some examples of recessive mutations are:
Orange Face Mutation: Red psittacin (feather pigment) is affected and takes on an orange hue.
Aqua Mutation: Yellow psittacin is reduced by about 50%, resulting in a bird with a color between green and blue. The mask turns pink, while the legs and nails retain their color.
Turquoise Mutation: The result is a bird with a nearly blue body in contrast to turquoise wings. Green areas can also be found in the plumage. The mask becomes almost white.
SEX-LINKED MUTATION (LS) AGAPORNIS ROSEICOLLIS
These LS mutations only exist in roseicollis and include cinnamon, pallid, ino, and opaline.
Birds have two chromosomes: ZZ for males and ZW for females.
This type of mutation is linked to the Z chromosome. A male can be a carrier if it is present on one chromosome or can exhibit the mutation if it is on both Z chromosomes. In contrast, females, having only one Z chromosome, can never be carriers of a sex-linked mutation; they either exhibit it or do not.
Opaline Mutation: It changes the pigmentation pattern, and psittacin appears in areas where it is not usually found. The red mask spreads across the entire head, the body takes on a green-grayish hue, and the rump becomes mostly green.
Ino Mutation: Eumelanin production is almost completely canceled out (the black pigment in feathers), but psittacin, responsible for orange and red tones, remains unaffected. The result is entirely yellow birds. Green birds turn yellow, while blue birds turn white.
Pallid Mutation: Eumelanin is reduced by 50%, resulting in birds with lighter colors. The green becomes very light, the rump is light blue, and the wing feathers are light gray. The legs and nails turn pink.
Cinnamon Mutation: Eumelanin produces a brown coloration, resulting in birds with a golden green color. Chicks are born with red eyes, which darken after a few days.
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