Pied Zebra Finch
Pied male Zebra finch

Mutation Effects
Inheritance: Recessive

Male and Female: White feathers replace the normal colored feathers in random patterns. On some specimens, the white areas totally eliminate the male markings. In these cases the color of the beak is used to sex the birds.

Fledglings: Pied chicks can often be identified in the nest as soon as the wing feathers beginning to form. The beak of the young can also be mottled pink and black depending upon the amount of white feathering. This will later change to orange as the bird matures.

Identifying Splits
Male and Female: Birds that are split for Pied can show varying amounts of white. It will usually show on the primary wing feathers and the chin. Some birds show no white feathers at all.

The pied mutation can be combined with any of the other mutations. It is best combined with the dark mutations like Black Face, Black Breast and Black Cheek or with Grays and Fawns that will give the white areas enough contrast to be seen.

It should not be combined with white mutations, except for the all White, or pattern mutations like the Penguin. The white blotches of the Pied mutation when combined with white mutations like CFW, Florida Fancy or Fawn Cheek tend to ruin the effect of the orange markings on the white body. The dilute varieties like Dominant Silver also do not offer the contrast needed to make a very attractive combination.

Black Face Recessive Silver Pied male (click to view)

When breeding Pieds, it is important to keep track of your bloodlines. This recessive mutation can remain hidden and later show up when you least expect or want it to. Many breeders consider Pieds a plague that can ruin the appearance of their other Zebra colors since even one white feather is considered a fault on the show bench.

The show standard calls for half the bird to be white and all the markings to be broken up approximately 50 percent. This is actually quite difficult to achieve. 'Light' pieds tend to have very little white and it starts with the flight feathers, chin and head. With repeated Pied x Pied matings, the amount of white increases. This can increase to the point that the last area of normal coloring is the back. These are often referred to as Saddleback Pieds. The amount of white can increase to the point that all the feathers are white. These white Pieds are sometimes entered in shows as 'White' Zebras and compete very well. Pieds are generally larger and have better conformation than the White Zebras that are available. The only way to determine if the bird is genetically a Pied or a White is with test matings.

While many Zebras that are split for pied will show occasional white feathers, some birds that have been the repeated victim of a feather plucker will have the feathers grow back as white. If the follicle is damaged or if the bird is malnourished an unable to create the pigments, these feathers will grow back a pure white. This is not genetically controlled.

The same Pied male Zebra finch as above. Notice the differnt pattern on this side of the head.