(Olive, Suffused Silver, Suffused Yellow, Dilute, Spangled)
Common Abbreviations: EM or O
Origin: Emerald is the thirteenth established mutation. The Emerald mutation first appeared during the 1980’s in the aviary of Norma and John Ludwig. They contacted Margie Mason in the United States (Texas) to work with the birds. There has been much controversy over the name of this mutation. Many people may also refer to the mutation as Olive or Suffused Yellow or Silver. I personally prefer to call this mutation Emerald, in honor of Margie Mason, whom had worked to establish the mutation and had originally named it.
This mutation is hard to describe. The term Emerald can be misleading because cockatiels do not carry any green pigmentation, so they cannot really be green. The melanin (dark pigments) are greatly reduced, giving an overall coloration of a pale tan-grey bird. The illusion of green is a result of yellow and dark grey pigments mottling the reduced grey. The more yellow present mixed with the reduced grey, the more intense the illusion of a drab olive color.
Emerald shares many visual traits with Dominant Silvers, especially the Single Factor Dominant Silver. Both mutations will have dark feet, beak, dark eyes, dark skullcaps (dark feathers covering the back of the head), dark edged wing flights, and sometimes a spangling pattern to the back, increasing in intensity with successive molts. When in doubt of the mutation, the bird can be test bred with a normal grey. Emerald is a recessive gene and both parents must carry the gene to produce visual offspring. Whereas, with Dominant Silver you just need one visual to get some visual offspring per clutch.
Some Emerald appears to have a spangle pattern on their back. Some have a lighter appearing olive green wash over their body, flights and tail, which a lot of the suffusion showing on the chest and lower body.
The mutation can range from a dark greyish-tan to light yellow-grey in color. When more tan is showing on the body less of the yellow suffusion will be expressed. It is when light grey is present that the yellow suffusion is more pronounced.
The Emerald mutation is very good breeders and have 5 to 7 babies per clutch. As they feather in the nest the wing tips will look a pale tan. The flight feathers will have a yellowish green tint, the hens more so than the cocks. Both sexes will have a dark appearing hood to their head. As the cock matures and gets his adult facial mask, the skullcap is more visible and darker on the back of the head versus the hen.
I have noticed that many of my split to Emerald will get a chocolate brown wash to their back after a molt or two, especially the hens.
Emerald hens are less common because the percentages of offspring from this mutation tend to be cocks, thus a shortage of hens amongst breeders working with this mutation.
When working with Emerald it is advisable to avoid pairing with melanin altering/reducing mutations, such as: Lutino, Fallow, Recessive Silver, and Dominant Silver, and most especially Cinnamon. Many people will question WHY? The main reason why is because mutations such as cinnamon is a melanin altering color, and it also will allow less of the grey pigments and more of the brown to be visually expressed. The beautiful yellow suffusion that gives the Emerald its distinctive coloration is a result of grey and yellow pigments together to give the illusion of a drab olive green. If Cinnamon is introduced then this affect is neutralized because the grey pigments are masked.
Whiteface Emerald are beautiful. The plumage is a true pale grey silvery color. Whereas a Whiteface Double Factor Dominant Silver retains a slight tan cast to the grey-silver tone. This difference makes it easier to identify the two mutations.