Why Do Cockatiels Have Orange Cheeks? (Answered!)

When it comes to your parrot’s physical appearance, it makes for a fascinating discussion to determine why they look the way they do.

Considering every parrot is vastly different from one another, there’s a lot to look over why they vary from each other in that regard.

Plus, it can be beneficial for figuring out why each parrot is the way they are physically before anything else.

With this in mind, cockatiels are some of the most unique and compelling parrots globally with their mohawk looking style and varying color tone of white and grey.

Still, why do cockatiels have orange cheeks?

To answer this question…cockatiels have orange cheeks since they have pigmentation in their cheeks called lipochromes. Lipochromes are responsible for causing the differentiating color from the rest of their body, and as far as we know, they’ve had lipochromes in their cheeks for the entire time they’ve been around. Still, it might be confusing why they have a color pigmentation, whereas many other parrots don’t.

Although it might be challenging to understand what a color pigmentation is and what it has to do with a cockatiel, don’t worry, we got you covered.

For those who don’t know, a color pigmentation is the coloring of an animal’s skin more lightly, or darkly that appears different than what it’s usually supposed to be.

Although it might seem like an injury when it occurs to happen, color pigmentations are typically harmless and can be quite prevalent in a species across the board.

Nevertheless, down below, we’re going to discuss everything there is to know about cockatiels and why they have orange cheeks.

We’ll discuss varying specifics of cockatiels and if they all have it, if all cockatiels have orange cheeks, if it’s bad if they don’t have orange cheeks, and much more.

Be sure to take a close examination at everything presented in this article and how it can help you be more knowledgeable about your cockatiel.

Before you know it, you’ll have an abundance of information that you can share with all of your parrot friends.

Let’s get started!

Do male cockatiels have orange cheeks?

Whenever someone brings up the question of cockatiels having orange cheeks, it usually comes down to both sexes of cockatiels to figure out how they differentiate.

Similar to humans, the pigmentation slightly varies from cockatiel to cockatiel. Still, it makes for an exciting area to look at.

With male cockatiels, they have an orange cheek pigmentation, but it tends to look slightly different.

For starters, male cockatiels have more yellow on their head and not as much grey.

As a result, their orange cheeks might not be as prevalent since orange is more challenging to see in yellow than grey.

Still, this varies significantly from cockatiel to cockatiel, and you’ll notice the apparent pigmentation upon a closer examination of a male cockatiel.

Even if the orange is barely noticeable in their cheeks because of the shade of yellow, try to look closer.

It’s great to see each cockatiel’s differentiating factors since it makes each of them their own identity.

Like we say with humans, every creature is unique to their own, no matter how different they might seem compared to human standards.


Do female cockatiels have orange cheeks?

Other than male cockatiels, the next area to look at would be female cockatiels.

Like males, females certainly have orange cheeks, but they vary significantly in their appearance since they have different shading overall.

For starters, females typically have more of a grey head, meaning the orange is generally more apparent over their cheeks because of the grey.

Like you can imagine, orange is easier to see over grey as opposed to yellow.

However, some females have more yellow than others, whereas others might have an almost entirely grey face.

Either way, you’ll see orange cheeks reasonably smoothly, and the amount of grey should be a good sign for you to tell the difference between a male and female.

It’s useful information to know the differences between a female and male cockatiel, but especially in the physical realm.

Just like you can easily tell the difference between someone who is a male compared to someone who is a female, the same thing applies to a cockatiel as long as you know how to tell.

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Do adolescent cockatiels have orange cheeks?

As with all chicks of any bird, it’s challenging to tell how any parrot will look when they’re young.

When they’re first born, they’ll have hardly any feathers and won’t have much resemblance to a standard cockatiel in any way.

However, as they begin to age, you’ll notice the orange on their cheeks come in.

In fact, you might even be able to see hints of it when they’re first born, but this depends on their genetics and how quickly they are to hit maturity.

Generally speaking, an exact representation of orange cheeks, as well as all of their other distinct colors, will mean the cockatiel is fully mature.

Usually, cockatiels hit full maturity around 18 to 24 months, but again, this can vary greatly.

Seeing how clear their orange cheeks are upon birth can be an excellent sign to see if they’ll be on the later or earlier spectrum for their maturity.

Either way, expect a good year and a half or two until you get to see your cockatiel fully grown up.


Do all cockatiels have orange cheeks?

Besides looking at males and females in a general way when it comes to cockatiels, it’s needed to highlight if all cockatiels have orange cheeks.

Like you can imagine, there are certainly more in-depth pigmentations or other factors that can cause a cockatiel to not have orange cheeks.

First off, if a cockatiel has sustained an injury or something occurs that can cause the discoloration of their face, it’s possible their orange cheeks won’t be visible.

Even if they’re clearly visible previously, this technically means they don’t have orange cheeks anymore.

On the other end, cockatiels can be born with a genetic mutation that means they don’t have orange cheeks at all.

Without any accident or something that can harm them, a genetic mutation is as naturally occurring as it is for cockatiels to have orange cheeks.

The most common genetic mutation happens to a white-faced cockatiel.

White-faced cockatiels are born with a genetic mutation that gives them an all-white or grey face instead of having a grey, yellow, and orange face.

In fact, some genetic mutations have caused a particular breed of cockatiels to have a white face with hints of yellow, but no orange in sight.

Of course, white-faced cockatiels are pretty rare, and if they’re albino or entirely white, they’re even more infrequent.


Is it bad if my cockatiel doesn’t have orange cheeks?

Unless your cockatiel has sustained a significant injury, it’s never really a bad thing if they don’t have any orange cheeks.

Of course, the genetic factors vary from every cockatiel, but don’t let their appearance influence you on how they should be.

On the other end, if a cockatiel did sustain an injury and it appears as if they burned themselves or something else, make sure they get help immediately.

You’ll be able to quickly tell if something like this happens, but make sure you get them the help they need.

As long as they have a reliable vet, they’ll be able to tell you what’s wrong and how they can help them.

However, aging is a vital factor to note when it comes to cockatiels since this can be a significant factor in their appearance and how their color features look.

Similar to us, parrots tend to lose a bit of color as they age, meaning their orange cheeks might fade a bit.

Obviously, don’t be scared to bring them to the vet if you’re scared about any change they might have, but realize it’s relatively familiar with aging.


Can cockatiels cheeks change to a different color other than orange?

As touched upon above, many cockatiels lose a bit of color as they age and can lose color from an injury that causes a deformity.

Other than that, they’re typically born with the color they have, as well as the orange in their cheeks.

Males tend to have orange cheeks with a more yellow head, whereas females have orange cheeks with a more grey head.

Differentiating between the two is useful information, but other factors cause some to have more or less coloring.

On the other end, remember about white-faced cockatiels who have no color present on their face.

They sometimes might have a hint of yellow, but other than that, they’re quite different than your traditional looking cockatiel.

Lastly, albino cockatiels are a thing, but they tend to be extremely rare, meaning you more than likely won’t ever see one in your lifetime.

Regardless of this, be mindful of what the orange cheeks in your cockatiel means and how it can help you tell if you have a male, female, or aging parrot.

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