6 Chapter 6

Recessive Silver

(Ashen Fallow, Ash, Platinum, Silver-Fallow)

Recessive (Autosomal)

Common Abbreviations: RS, ss, Sil

Origin: Recessive Silver is the fifth established mutation. Recessive Silver was first established in New Zealand at the start of the 1950’s. The Recessive Silver in the US is of European origin and imported into the US in the late 1960’s.

The melanin pigment has been modified and the visual coloration can range from a steel or silvery grey to a brown color. Overall, the coloration has a cool tone rather than a warm tone of the Fallow. There is a visual difference between the hen and cock. The cock is lighter, ranging from a smoky brown to a pale grey. As he matures he will get the yellow facial mask, and the body plumage may darken. The hen is a dark brown. She will look like a dark Cinnamon with red eyes. The eye color is a ruby red with the iris being lighter than the pupil. The eye color is what distinguishes a Recessive Silver visually from the Dominant Silver cockatiel. Recessive Silver is not as light colored as the Fallow mutation, which also has a brighter pink/red eye color.

The Recessive Silver can be recognized in the nest box upon hatch because it will have light plum red eyes. Recessive Silver should not be bred with Cinnamon (a melanin altering mutation) or any dilute mutation. The Cinnamon will either mask (appear as a lutino) the Recessive Silver coloration or darken it which makes it harder to identify the mutation of the bird. Breeding two visuals together will result in a smaller bird, with higher loses in the nest. Ideally, it would be the best to breed visual Recessive Silver with a split. This will improve the next generation.

This colage shows the differences in the shade of coloration between the two mutations.  There is also a slight difference in the eye color.  A fallow eye will be a paler pink than a Recessive Silver.

Shown below is a collage that shows some examples of what a Recessive Silver may look like if Cinnamon is masking the color. These birds can be mistaken for a lutino with a dirty diluted grey-tan wash to several areas of the body. The eye color will be paler than a lutino. 

When in doubt on the mutation of the bird, it is best to test breed with a visual Recessive Silver that has no Cinnamon in its background. If the bird proves to be a Recessive Silver, hold onto the visual Recessive Silver hens to work with because hens do not inherit the sex-linked mutations. At this time there are very few breeders working with Recessive Silvers. It is in the best interest of this mutation to work towards lines that have no Cinnamon in the background.

Many times Cinnamon can be mistaken for Recessive Silver.  The difference is that a Recessive Silver will have red eyes.  BOTH the pupil and the iris are red.  A Cinnamon will have a dark/brown iris, and a black pupil, but when a light is shown to the pupil it will reflect back a wine-red color. 

At the time of this writing I have been puzzeled over Slick Chicks (collage below) eye color.  The bird was DNA’d a female.  From personal expereience it is the cocks that will have the wine-red pupil if they are either visual Cinnamon or as an indication that they are split to Cinnamon.  While going over her mothers pedigree I noticed that there is Recessive Silver in her background.  It makes me wonder if this reflective pupil color on a hen could be a visual indication that she could be split to Recessive Silver.  I’m only speculating, but may have to test breed…….


COCKATIEL MUTATIONS, A Bounty of Color Copyright © by srtiels. All Rights Reserved.


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