Dark Factor In Peach Faced Lovebirds

Rosy faced Lovebird
Rosy faced Lovebird

Dark Factor (DF) is a mutation that results in a variety of fascinating color combinations. The DF mutation is a semi-dominant mutation (sometimes termed partial dominant). This implies two things:

  1. A bird only has to inherit the mutation from ONE of its parents to experience the mutation’s consequences. A bird with a single copy of the mutation is known as a “single dark factor” bird.
  2. A bird who gets the mutation from BOTH of its parents, known as a “double dark factor,” would have a substantially different appearance than a single dark factor bird.

Dark Factor, unlike most other mutations in the Peachfaced Lovebird, has no influence on the bird’s feather pigments. Rather, the physical structure of the feathers is influenced. (According to Jim Morris, “Notes on the Dark Factor,” Agapornis World, October 1980.) This small alteration in feather structure modifies the way the feathers reflect light, resulting in the bird’s color being both deeper and darker.

The existence of the dark component on most peachfaced may be identified by looking at the color of the bird’s rump. The rump of a regular peachie will be a vivid tourquoise blue. If there is just one dark component, the rump will be dark royal or navy blue. Birds with a double dark component are readily identified because the body is quite black and the rump is truly grey.

Perhaps the most intriguing part of the Dark Factor is the vast array of colors it allows when paired with other mutations. By combining it with the dark component, almost any other color available in the peachfaced may be generated in three separate tones. This has resulted in many gorgeous peachfaced cultivars, but also a large array of names for various pairings, which can confuse the beginner enthusiast. Though most experienced breeders are acquainted with terminology like “jade” and “slate,” many new breeders I’ve talked with have been perplexed by these concepts.

The word “Jade” refers to a single dark factor green, while “Olive” refers to a double dark factor green. “Cobalt” denotes a single dark factor Dutch Blue bird, whereas “Slate” denotes a double dark factor Dutch Blue bird.

When there were only a few Peachfaced mutations to deal with, these words were easy enough, and most experienced breeders still use them informally. However, the commonly used terminology for all single and double factor lovebirds are “Medium” and “Dark.” Thus, the terms “Jade,” “Medium Green,” and “Single Dark Factor Green” are interchangeable. The labels “Medium” and “Dark” have the benefit of being both simpler and more accurately descriptive than the earlier terminology. Whereas “cobalt” can only refer to blue birds and “jade” can only refer to green birds, “medium” may be added to any color descriptor to indicate the existence of a single dark element.

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