Since I got my pet cockatiel, I’ve been curious about its red eyes and where they come from. It was a red-eyed yellow cockatiel.
Usually, the bird’s eyes are almost pink, but then the light hits the eyes just right; they almost seem to glow red, but why do cockatiels have red eyes?
In most cases, red-eyed cockatiels occur as a result of albinism. The appearance of the red eye comes from a reflection of the inside of the bird’s eye, not the color of the iris. However, red might also appear due to some infection or allergies.
But don’t worry, red-eyed cockatiels (or any bird, for that matter) do not have any increased tendency to be aggressive.
Many have been specifically bred to be gentle and easy-to-handle cockatiels. So let’s look a little deeper into albinism in cockatiels.
In general, cockatiels get their eye color from the iris.
The genes of cockatiels produce a pigment that reflects a specific wavelength of light, which makes a visible eye color.
However, albinism overrides any other genes that signal the cockatiel’s eyes and feathers to produce a color.
Albino cockatiels do not have any melanin particles to reflect. This means that the iris reflects light straight from the blood vessels. This is what gives a cockatiel its red-eyed appearance.
Also, red-eyed and yellow cockatiels have surged in popularity over the years.
The albinism gene in cockatiels can occur in the wild, and though rare, it has been bred explicitly into pet cockatiels.
Are Red-Eyed Cockatiels Sick?
An albino cockatiel is a healthy cockatiel. If your white pet has any health concerns, they are unlikely to be connected to albinism. Its immune system and internal organs will remain robust.
There is only one consideration to make around albino cockatiels. Be wary of prolonged exposure to sunlight.
It can be tough for an albino cockatiel to look at the sun. Its skin will also burn slightly faster than that of other birds.
The red eyes of these animals are particularly sensitive to bright light. No cockatiel enjoys bright light.
If you have an albino cockatiel, keep this in mind. Keep lights in your home dim wherever possible.
As long as your pet can seek refuge from the sun, it will be perfectly happy.
Do Red-Eyed Cockatiels Need Special Care?
For the most part, albino cockatiels are the same as any other cockatiel.
The basic care (diet, size of the cage, exercise time, and more) for any albino cockatiel should be exactly the same as other cockatiels.
Studies suggest that albino cockatiels do not have as good eyesight as their non-albino counterparts. However, it is not ‘horrible’ eyesight.
When I got my first albino cockatiel, I was concerned that there was something wrong with its eyesight, but after some research found that this is normal in albino cockatiels.
Sensitive To Light
Research states that the red eyes of albino cockatiels are also more sensitive to light.
This means that red-eyed cockatiels are more likely to squint and find direct sunlight painful or difficult to deal with.
As a caretaker, you should take extra precautions to make sure your cockatiel always has a shelter that they can move to, so if they find the direct light uncomfortable, they’ll have somewhere else to move.
Are Red-Eyed Cockatiels Blind?
The fact that albinism will lead to blindness in cockatiels is completely untrue.
However, the fact is they have a slightly different vision than other breeds. We have discussed this earlier in the article as well.
Sometimes even when you place a bowl of fresh fruits or veggies in front of your cockatiels, they might take a while before going for it.
In this case, what they are doing is examining the object to understand what it is. This definitely doesn’t indicate that they are blind.
They have a slightly different vision. That’s all!
How Long Does A Red-Eyed Cockatiel Live?
The albinism in your cockatiels will not impact their health or life expectancy.
On average, they will live around 10-14 years as any other cockatiel would live.
Do All Yellow Cockatiel Have Red Eyes?
All yellow cockatiels do not necessarily have red eyes.
In general, red-eye in cockatiels usually happens due to albinism. i.e., due to a lack of pigment called melanin in their eyes.
However, if you have pure albino cockatiel, then they will definitely have red eyes accompanied by yellowish feathers.
Are Red-Eyed Cockatiels Aggressive?
You must have heard that a red-eyed cockatiels are often aggressive. However, this is totally untrue.
The temperament of an albino cockatiel is just as same as any other cockatiel.
In albino cockatiels, the red eyes are due to the lack of pigment. It has nothing to do with your bird’s aggressive behavior.
Whenever a new cockatiel owner gets a pet with red eyes and notices that their birds are fighting, they often believe it is something with the color of the eyes that makes them evil or aggressive.
However, the reality is cockatiels have a stage of proving dominance when they are first introduced to a new environment.
It is completely normal for your cockatiels to fight with each other to determine who is the leader and who is the subordinate. That has nothing to do with eye color.
Other Common Cockatiel Eye Colors
Cockatiels can actually have many different colored eyes. It’s most common for them to have black eyes.
However, less common colors also occur. Some common cockatiel eye colors include:
- Black: the most common eye color that you will see.
- Ruby: rare, but beautiful, you will see a distinctly see ruby iris on these cockatiels.
- Pink: this is a rare occurrence where a black-eyed cockatiel has a specific set of genes that cause the iris to appear a pale pink. It is different from the red eyes of an albino cockatiel.
- Red: this is when a cockatiel’s iris has no pigment at all, and it is caused by albinism in the cockatiel.
Cockatiel Red Eye Infection
Not to be confused with albino cockatiels who have red eyes, the red-eye infection can occur in cockatiels of any color.
Red-eye in cockatiels is very similar to pink eye in humans. This is the condition that occurs when the blood vessels in the bird’s eye swell to give the eye a red tinge.
This infection is usually accompanied by swelling, weepy eyes, or bumps around the eyes
There are many causes of red eye in cockatiels. It can result from:
- Overgrown teeth
- Bacterial infections
- Fungal infections
If you feel that your cockatiel is not well and has a red eye infection, then the best idea would be to take it to a vet. The vet will help you find the cause and help your pet bird get better.