Illustrated glossary of mutations in zebrafinch

I made this glossary to illustrate in photos the existing mutations in the zebrafinch.
He can help you identify the mutation (s) of your zebra finches.

Important precision :To identify the genotype of your zebrafinch, it will be necessary to take into account that a zebra finch can carry a mutation without being mutant.
Being a carrier (/, split) of a mutation means that it is partially present (genetically speaking). From the visual point of view the partially carried mutation will not be seen or only by some clues present in the appearance of the bird.
In this case, it will be necessary to have a trained eye to determine the genotype. Sometimes check couplings will be necessary.
Your zebra finch can also have several mutations, the possible combinations are numerous.

This glossary is based solely on the phenotype (visual characteristics) and single mutations (not combined).

Grey (GR)

The gray zebrafinch is not a mutation, it is the original (wild) type.

Gris male Gris femelle

1. Gender-related mutations

The female can never be a split, so she is either mutant or non-mutant.
The male can be a split of the mutation.

Brown (Br)

Brun male Brun femelle

Pale back

Dos pale male Dos pale femelle

Mask, old type

Masque ancien type male Masque ancien type femelle

Mask, new type

Masque nouveau type male Masque nouveau type femelle

2. Dominant mutations

Neither male nor female can be a split, it only takes one mutant to obtain 50% of young mutants.

Black face (BF)

Black face ou face noire male Black face ou face noire femelle


Huppe gris male Huppe gris femelle

Gray cheeks

Joues grises male Joues grises femelle


Pastel gris male Pastel gris femelle

Clear cheeks

Joues claires gris male

3. Free recessive mutations

Both male and female can carry the mutation. The trait must be present twice to be visible in both male and female.


Agate gris male Agate femelle

Yellow beak

Bec jaunes gris male Bec jaunes gris femelle




Eumo gris male Eumo gris femelle


Isabelle male Isabelle femelle

Black cheeks

Joues noires gris male Joues noires gris femelle


Panache gris male Panache gris femelle

White breast

Poitrine blanche gris male Poitrine blanche gris femelle

Black chest

Poitrine noire gris male Poitrine noire gris femelle

Orange breast

Poitrine orange gris male Poitrine orange gris femelle

4. Some combinations of mutations

Male black face, orange chest, black chest

Black face ou face noire poitrine orange poitrine noire male

Male black face, black cheeks

Black face ou face noire joues noires male

Male mask black cheeks

Masque joues noires male

Pastel male pale back

Pastel dos pale gris male

Female brown cheeks

Joues brunes femelle

5. Uncommon mutations (on the date of the article)

Charcoal Thegeorge

Thanks to Bart Houben and Loïc Leducq, owners of the published photos, who granted the publication.


Tony Lombard, amateur breeder selection.
Article published in 2018.


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dominant Mutation mutant split genotype phenotype sex-related recessive