Variegation, part 2: patterns of light and dark

Yikes!  A budgie!  What’s that doing on Fine Spangled Sort?  Let me introduce you to Stanley, my daughter’s budgerigar.  He is here for a good reason: to demonstrate the markings in his plumage.

I have been fortunate in having been a member of the Beeston CBS (sadly now defunct), a genuinely all-variety bird club.  There was plenty of banter between the budgie breeders, the foreign bird keepers, the British bird people and the canary fanciers, but also mutual respect; you can learn a lot from breeders of other species if you keep an open mind.  Yes, even from budgerigars.

Stanley is a good example; notice how many of his feathers are black with a white fringe (1).  Does that remind you of something?  The overall arrangement may be different, being aligned visually in lateral rather than longitudinal rows, but they are effectively spangles in all but name.  Ironically, the budgerigar variety known as the ‘Spangle’ has the opposite effect: a white feather with a black fringe.  I’m sure there must be a logical explanation, but it isn’t obvious to this Lizard canary man.

These markings are a form of variegation, but unlike the variegation we have seen in the first episode, they are not random.  They comprise contrasting zones of light and dark pigments within an individual feather; the zoning is predictable according to where on the bird the feathers grow.  Furthermore, these feathers combine to form regular and attractive patterns.  The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

In the Lizard world, we tend to be obsessed about the definition of the spangles and the contrast between light and dark pigments.  A pet budgie is a useful reminder that while the Lizard’s spangles may be unique amongst canaries, it is quite a common pattern in the plumage of other species.  Indeed, the budgerigar can go one better and produce multiple dark and light stripes in a single feather.  Note the ‘barring’ on the neck and head.  Here is a close up:

Budgerigar feathers showing alternate light and dark bands

There is one significant difference between the feathers that look like spangles in a budgerigar and the spangles of a Lizard canary.  The former are present in nest feather; the latter emerge at the first moult.  Only a few feathers in the budgerigar’s plumage change in the moult.  The clue lies in the name that budgerigar breeders give to juveniles; they are called ‘barheads’ after the barring on the forehead.  Here is an example:

This black barring is present until the first moult, but then disappears.  You can see the adult form in the picture of Stanley at the head of this article; his forehead is clear white.  These feathers differ from the Lizard’s spangles because all the black is lost.

There is only one variety of canary that shares this characteristic: the London Fancy.  It is a form of depigmentation, but I have found no recognised name for the mutation that controls it.  I am therefore going to give it a name: the fugitive black gene (2).

I will explain more in Part 4.

Footnotes:

Being a blue budgie, the fringe is white.  In a normal green budgie, the fringe would be yellow because this is the natural ground colour of the wild budgerigar.

Fugitive is used here as an adjective, meaning: of short duration; difficult to grasp or retain; likely to evaporate, deteriorate, change, fade, or disappear. (Meriam-Webster dictionary).

31 thoughts on “Variegation, part 2: patterns of light and dark

  1. The ‘barred’ feathers on a Budgerigar may be described as variegated, in the sense that as individual feathers they display lines of pigment and a lack of it, but surely they do not make a ‘normal’ Budgerigar a variegated bird. In the same sense that ‘grizzle’ poultry feather which can be many inches long at the hackle with stripes of dark and light pigment within the same feather do not make the bird variegated (or “splash” in Poultry terminology) at the follicle.
    A ‘variegated’ Budgerigar is a ‘Pied’ in which case the ‘normal’ barred feature feathers ( and other feature feathers containing melanin ) are replaced by patches of ‘clear’ Lipochrome feathers, usually displayed as white or yellow, in the same way that in a ‘normal’ canary ( or Greenfinch ) melanin feathers are replaced with Lipochrome feathers. Zebra Finches display the same ‘pied’ effect to good effect on their barred breasts and chestnut/dotted flanks.

    As an aside, “grizzle” feather is not at all uncommon on Type canaries. I have seen it in Lipochrome Colour canaries too, it commonly appears on the cap/nape, shoulders and high up in the flanks, where sometimes it is present only as ‘dark’ down beneath ‘clear’ outer feather.
    It is also very liable to “diminish” between nest feather and first adult moult, sometimes so that it ‘almost’ disappears and is almost imperceptible.
    The term Pie-bald, which predated ‘pied’ is arguably a better descriptor of what variegation actually is, even if it is only one ‘foul’ feather.

    1. I am not a colour canary breeder, but I am familiar with the mosaic. This is my understanding:

      Mosaic is not a pigment mutation or a form of leucism, but a special type of feather structure. Posture canaries have only two types of feather: yellow and buff (known as gold and silver in Lizards), but colour canaries also have ‘mosaic’ which produces an extreme degree of frostiness. The mosaic feather can make a bird look much lighter (almost white if fed an unnatural diet), but that has nothing to do with variegation.

  2. Indeed so, Huw. It was introduced to the canary as a 3rd feather type by pairing canaries to the Black Hooded Red Siskin, emphasising the sexually dimorphic nature of that breed, hence the Dimorphic name as initially applied by U.k breeders to the mutation prior to adopting the continental descriptive name of ‘Mosaic’. An unintended and unexpected consequence of hybridising!

  3. The mosaic feather tends to be wider than the non-intensive feather and as has been said above it has a larger frosted tip. This hides much of the lipochrome colour. I believe there is a large variation in the width and length of the feathers of mosaic birds and there is some debate as to whether there are intensive and non-intensive versions of the mosaic. I tend to support the argument that some mosaics tend towards the intensive feathering and some to the non-intensive and to achieve the best outcomes when pairing this needs to be taken into consideration.

    As to barred versus variegation – I suppose what you call the feathers depends upon the exact definition you are applying and how the terms are being used – in this case by people in the bird world. Barred tends to be used to mean ‘marked with bands of colour’ whereas variegated means patches of different colours.

  4. https://sites.google.com/site/colourhomers/mutations/grizzles

    https://openlibrary.org/books/OL2207173M/Poultry_breeding_and_genetics

    The best information on feather variagation is found on poultry and pigeon studies. As canaries are part of the feathered world I believe we could extend part of those findings to them.

    Some of the mutations mentioned like spangling (Pg) – Columbian melanine restriction gene (Co) – Lacing (Lg) – Grizzing (G) – Tiger Grizzle (Gt) – Undergrizzle (Ug) – Drizzle (Drz) – White Grizzle (Gw) – are very interesting !

    Also the importance of epistasis in the position/colour in the feather.

    1. Thanks. Unfortunately the link to the poultry book doesn’t allow access to its content. I agree about epistasis, but I’m surprised that the pigeon site doesn’t mention epigenetics. The ‘salt and pepper’ effect we see in grizzled feathers has all the hallmarks of ‘position effect variegation’, an epigenetic trait.

  5. The feathered world may well be the world of feathers, but according to at least one source, given the differential number of genes involved, it is not wise to assume that everything that flies ( or has feathers ) is based on the same ‘pool’ of genes and will therefore produce the same genetic features or subsequent ‘hiccups’ when mutations occur.

    The full article below is far too ‘high-brow’ for me to even begin to understand, but it appears to suggest that the canary genome is smaller than that of the Zebra Finch ( the next layer out….) and of the ‘domestic hen’ ie. the next layer, etc, etc. Figure 3 refers

    https://genomebiology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13059-014-0578-9

    Not that this does anything to disprove a supposition that the Lizard canary was the result of a fertile hybridisation with an unknown other finch-like bird which “fixed” the feature of the propensity for the hybrid to display a ‘cap’ of variable form on it’s crown and a mutated feather found on no other canary.

    If we then go on to consider the most likely circumstance that leads to the mutation in birds, ie. in-breeding and the circumstances in the 19th century when captive species may well be closely bred by necessity, particularly in isolated regional areas, we could accept that there was such a bird as a London Fancy, which came out of an accident of a breeding group of Lizard canaries and it was not just another ‘jig or rig’ of the capital city. Perhaps that is how “self green” chicks came to moult out ‘clear bodied’ with ‘black wings’ ( and with dark under-flue throughout !)

    The most typical mutated birds we see are probably the Budgerigar, Australian Finches, Lovebirds, all of which have had diminished gene pools since the 1960/70’s – drastically in some cases as some birds, such as Gouldians which were perilously difficult to keep alive in the 1970’s. Mexican House/Rosefinches which are a late arrival to the avicultural scene in numbers are mutating ‘at will’ to provide new colours.
    I don’t think we can ‘weigh’ canaries with Pigeons or Poultry.

  6. It is interesting to see that someone “appears” to have done the genome work on a generic canary, albeit for the intended purposes of studying ‘song’. I have long advocated seeking to enthuse Professor Tim Birkhead’s ‘team’ at Sheffield, perhaps one of his Post Grad / Dr students in looking into the Lizard canaries genetic make up, for comparison to a ‘common domesticated’ and ‘wild type’ to see if there are any glaring anomalies which might lead to an investigation into what else may be lurking there – if something is. As I understand it such investigations are becoming easier and less expensive to do and whilst ‘someone’ would have to fund it, it might just be interesting enough to ‘inspire’ a doctorate student and worthy of a Crowd-funding / ‘international’ Lizard specialist club / COM/IOA sponsorship approach to find the finance to do it. It looks as if one major ‘step’ may already have been taken.
    Establishing the ‘special’ nature of the Lizard, as many of us believe is the case, might be the key to it’s long term protection and understanding how in the past the London Fancy may have appeared in it’s original form – if it did.

    1. Strong point NIgel,
      one would think analysing the wild canary genome and the lizard canary genome by modern science can reveil the genes or factors of the fine spangled ones.
      Even more, comparing these genomes to that of the genomes of the three most closely related species of the wild canary (european serin, alario and red fronted serin) may give insight in the history of both lizard and london fancy.
      Do not forget that the not related black hooded red siskin hybrids prove fertile!
      mvg Gust

  7. Agreed Gust, I have never subscribed to the generality of hybrids (Mules) being universally infertile. The Canary x Red Siskin is a classic example in itself that they are not ! but also more recent crosses between the Magellan Siskin and canary ( to produce the Jaspe). So, there are two cases which prove the infertility “FACT” isn’t one. As in many cases we have historically, going back into the mists of time, suffered the consequences of blindly following old adages and dogma. I recall a few years ago seeing a letter in the Cage & Aviary birds written by a fancier in Ireland who had bred some canary ‘Mule’s. I can not recall what they were exactly, and sadly I have never been able find it again, although it was ‘on-line’ that I found it. He had paired the canary to a small ‘Native’ breed, Siskin / Twite / Redpoll, something of that nature. He had struggled to off-load the youngsters and had let some of them fly loose in an aviary for a season with a canaries. In the Autumn he had youngsters which were clearly not canaries and was asking advice on what to do with these birds potentially produced from a fertile cross. The “expert” advice was that they were of no value to anyone as they were neither one thing nor another. Whether the expert thought it was ‘blarney’ or bad husbandry, who knows and many would argue the expert was probably right, but it struck me as another example of a small/closed mind and who knows what ‘lost’ opportunity.
    Generations of fanciers have been told by virtually every reference source and time-served expert that canary ‘Mules’ are infertile so it is hardly any surprise that so few concerted efforts are made to ‘work’ with them. Why would the average well read fancier waste time on the impossible ? It would be no surprise, however, to find that before ‘we’ got to be so clever, an earlier generation of bird breeders who didn’t have our experts or any books to rely upon, purely by accident “fleetingly” created a fertile hybrid which left a long term legacy on the Fancy.

    1. Nigel, I can add a third case of fertile hybrids just by looking into my own aviary.
      As of today their are at least three H2 hybrids happily flying their, Huw saw two of them in Keyenborg.
      By H2, I mean the father is a H1 (european serin X canary)
      The mother again an ordinary canary
      By own experience I know the H1 females won’t breed (see earlier post
      http//:finespangledsort.com/fertile-hybrid-theory-the-serin/
      )
      I promise to try breeding with them may 2017, both females and males, again with straight canaries.
      If succesfull, I try brother H2 with sister H2.

      mvg Gust

    2. Hello Nigel and Danielle,

      on 11/02/2017 at 7:29 pm i promised you to share my search on the fertility of the european serin and common canary. Danielle asked me to use a lizard hen since she sees the lizard factors in the european serins. So an update of the results as of today 7/5/2017.

      In 2016 i bred several F2 (filius second generation)

      one of them par example: most probably a hen ring FK16/060 out of the combination:
      father: Cini hybrid F1 ring purple 009
      mother: a selfgreen hen ring M057
      Parents of purple 009:
      father: an european serin born 2012
      mother: a selfgreen hen out of the combination gold lizard cock and a melanin hen
      Parents of M057:
      father: silver lizard cock ring lca14/002 out of a silver lizard bred by Bart Deckers in 2012 ring 191AH723 bof and a silver lizard hen out of my “vennekes” stock ring purple 047
      mother: the same hen as the mother of purple 009 hybrid F1

      I have kept four of them for breeding F3 in 2017 (one the above FK16/060). Although they spent winter in an outdoor free flight they are much too fat, even obese. None of them sings as of today. I have checked their condition last week but cannot even tell their sex for sure. If they are all females the most obvious way for breeding F3 (male F2 line) seems blocked for 2017. One of them fenotype male european serin so there is still a little hope.

      On 24/04/2017 i paired cock purple 009 (the above mentioned F1 hybrid) with a fenotype silver lizard hen clear cap ring M068. I mention fenotype because she is not a true lizard in the LCA sense. Her mother is the above mentioned mother of M057 which is also the mother of purple 009. So the youngsters would share the same bird in their pedigree (grandmother on father’s side and grandmother on mother’s site the same bird). M068 is in a breeding cage 40X40x40 number ZO2.
      She laid five eggs (1/5 till 5/5) and is currently breeding very nice and steady. I normally check eggs with a penlight five days after the third egg removing bad eggs since i feel the hens tend to wait till the last egg is hatched, depriving the oldest chicks of their first meal.
      However i will wait till 11/5 for this clutch to check since i noticed hybrids develop in another way inside the eggs. Sometimes there is nothing to see the first week. I guess the hybrids have difficulty in development the first days after sitting. A few days before normal 13 day hatching they seem to catchup though.
      In the evening 1/5/2017 i removed F1 cock purple 009 from M068 since I know his normal routine. He is very nice to the ladies but much to active. He stands on helping with nestbuilding and checks the breeding hen every hour always taking away some straws of the nest. In 2016 the hens were left on bare plastic after ten days.
      So more news on this clucth at the end of next week.

      On the evening 1/5/2017 i paired F1 hybrid purple 009 to the above mentioned FK16/060 F2 hybrid in cage N2. I gave the F2 hen an old lizard nest because of the cocks routine. This nest is unharmed so there is really nothing happening in this cage.
      Early april i paired a young selfgreen cock to one of the fat F2 hybrid hens(???) in cage NW2. Since that day he stopped singing but seems happy. All is very peacefull in that cage for over a month but nothing seems to indicate reproduction.
      I am afraid breeding F3 out of female F2 is impossible likewise as the female F1 line: nothing really nothing, let us blame Haldane (see http://finespangledsort.com/fertile-hybrid-theory-the-serin/ )

      Greetings Gust Truyens

    3. Situation as of the weekend 14/05/2017:

      Cage ZO2: fenotype lizard hen M068 fertilized by F1 hybrid cock purple 009
      Foto of the breeding hen

      I checked the eggs on the evening of 10/5 and again on 13/05 together with three lizards clutches of the same age. Fourteen lizard eggs only one bad. A totally different story on the F2 eggs. On 10/5 i guessed two bad eggs, two with maybe some live and the fifth egg did not seem to be turned witch in that nest could have been the case. There was definatly some live in this egg. Later on 13/05 i checked again. Two bad eggs for sure. Very doubtfull on the other three. There is not any comparision with normal canary egg development. I will be very surprised this F2 eggs hatch on the same day as the lizard youngsters. I expect the lizards on 16/05.

      Cage N2: F1 cock purple 009 and F2 hen FK16/060
      Foto of the couple in N2

      The cock (?) is halfway his efforts for restyling the old lizard nest. They are getting along really fine.

      The only thing the other F2 do is eat.

      Greetings Gust.

  8. This is an image of a White Rumped Seedeater / Grey Singing Finch, (Crithagra leucopygius/Serinus leucopygius) effectively a member of the ‘canary’ family and quite possibly transported on Trade routes ‘out of Africa’ by Southern European states in earlier times.
    http://www.birdforum.net/opus/images/thumb/4/4d/White-rumped_Seedeater_Tuti.jpg/603px-White-rumped_Seedeater_Tuti.jpg
    Note the feather pattern on the back. The W.R.S. is one of the related birds which will produce fertile hybrids with Serinus Canarius. The picture is rare in so much that most images show a captive bird with scruffy or untidy, badly lying feathers. This one, taken whilst relaxed and in the wild has a much more familiar look from behind !

    1. Nigel,
      the WRS is known by flemish fanciers, certainly not scruffy. The flemish local name is “edelzanger”. Strictly translated this means “noble singer”, which in our lizard context means an argument contra.
      I have seen hybrids from canary hen on local shows. Also the hybrids book by Alois Van Mingeroet mentions this combination on pages 210-211. I get you a scan, it’s in dutch!? The edelzanger is a true grey bird, so not a likely choice for a hybrid fancier. I’ve never heard of a fertile hybrid, but as you argued before ….
      I prefer the german theory, also mentioned by Huw on this site and go for red fronted serin. But … no hard evidence.
      mvg Gust

      1. Interesting Gust. I have had a look at Noble Singer/Edelzanger. Reading around, it seems to be a somewhat generic term for a number of very closely related ‘Grey Singer’ type birds, including the Lemon vented which does display yellow pigment.
        Two ‘supposed’ Serinus leucopygus x Canary hybrid ‘song’ videos. Neither is really interested in the back – but the moustache is prominent ! Striations appear to line up well but it is not possible to tell if those typical ‘scale’ like back feathers of the Grey Singing Finches have been inherited in the cross. I think in the first video, from what you can see it suggests they may have. Fertility would obviously need to be tested going forwards.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g47wBz7S6Hg

        http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y33/Santegoeds/Birdhouse/8cff8220.jpg

        Grey Singers are pretty ‘tiny’ compared to a canary, so you would almost certainly have to start with a cock Singer to a hen canary and possibly provide a ‘step-ladder’ ! I don’t favour the Serin as a likely source of anything interesting developing personally as I think the Serin and Canary are probably too closely related if not actually sub-species. The Red Fronted Serin has the cap as a feature, which is interesting, but it’s devilishly difficult to keep, even with modern understanding and conditions, so I’m less confident than many that it holds the key given the limitations of bird-keeping in the 1700-1800’s.
        That is not to say, of course, that the first page in the story of the Lizard had to be ‘written’ in Northern Europe, despite the popular French book on the subject. Hybrids would have been far easier to create in typically Asia Minor conditions.

  9. Hello Gust
    You are a lucky one to possess a H1 european serin x canary hybrid although my dream would be to start an experiment with a straight european serin x female lizard.
    This scheme would of course make it easier to spot if a common family tree exist between those 2 species.
    However, pairing your mâle hybrid with a female lizard could also give some very interesting results.
    Better to forget the female colour canary if you want to know more about the london fancy ancestry as the origin being unknown we have to reverse the process with the most adequate possibilities (i.e. the female lizard as from old writings we are quite sure london fancies and lizard canaries were related).

    1. Danielle,
      I suppose i can make one more promise: in may 2017 i can couple both a straight european serin and a male H1 with a minor lizard hen. I will keep you informed throu mail and photo’s. Sorry i do not quiet understand your reasoning for it.
      In the second part of your post on the london fancy you hit a painfull spot. Looking back, i made a major mistake in 2015 going along with the colour canary line losing some years. I need a full A4 to explain the wrong decision.
      mvg Gust

  10. It would appear that there is a Robert Prys-Jones, of the Natural History Museum, who did a major piece of work with an Italian Scientist – Dario Zuccon and they wrote a substantial paper on the Taxonomic relationship between finches. It would appear that as part and parcel of this work they researched and DNA tested a vast number of Finch family birds including most if not all the Serin species, including those we are interested in or familiar with. Presumably they did not look into any peculiarities the Lizard canary might display.

    This is slightly heavy going – again – but in terms of comparing DNA, it looks as if not only has ‘some’ of the work been down around profiling DNA which could suggest whether the Lizard has ‘differences’, but all of it may actually have been done – except for the Lizard itself.

    http://www.nrm.se/download/18.9ff3752132fdaeccb6800010935/Zuccon+et+al+2012.pdf

    1. Thank you Nigel for the pdf. What a meal to digest.
      One would think it narrows our search down to 5 or 6 species.
      On the other hand, including our fertile red siskin hybrid friend, it opens up the possebilities to almost every european small finch. (Even a linnet, redpoll, goldfinch etc)
      Mvg Gust

  11. Hello Gust

    http://www.eleveur-de-carduelines.com/PDF/Monographie_Serin_Cini.pdf

    This study on the european serin by Marcel Ruelle is quite an exhaustive one.

    On page 163 you can see that there is a specificity in the covert feathers : there are surrounded by a light fringe. The fringe becoming more important on adult birds. Could we find here the start of a spangle ?

    On page 149 the author emphasize on the phenomenal geographical extension of this small serin all over the mediterranean countries. It even cohabits with the serinus pusilus in the south of Turkey !

    It would be very interesting to know if by pairing an european serin with a lizard canary such hybrid could still show some kind of spangling after the juvenile moult. This result could give more support to the origin of the lizard canary.

    1. Hello Danielle,

      I did not forget the promise i pletched you 12/02/2017 in this blog. So i prolounged the experiment i spoke about in http://finespangledsort.com/fertile-hybrid-theory-the-serin/ on 17/10/2016:

      I keep my old birds during winter in a 6 cubemeter outdoor aviary. During april 2017 i gradually emptied this birdroom selecting and analyzing my lizard stock for the breeding season 2017.

      As of today 6/5/2017 the only male bird in this aviary is a male european serin born 2012. Not that his confidence needed a boost but seeing his competitors leave one by one makes him feel king of the birdworld. I will try making a sound recording of his distinct song he produces all year long.

      Now as of the females:

      First:
      there are still four or five female european serins in the aviary. They are all daughters of the above male born in 2014, 2015 or 2016. One born 2015 started searching for a nesting place beginning may. Unfortunedly she got caught in some nesting material dangling on one leg from a nesting cage. Luckily i discovered the accident in time saving her from dead. I do not think she is fysical hurt but she stopped her efforts for reproducing. I have looked at her condition and believe she will be ready for laying soon. Expected youngsters before june 2017.
      The exces females will go to breeding cages 40x40x40.

      Second:
      One female F1 european serin X canary hybrid with a blue ring born 2014. She also is a daugher of the above male. I mentioned F1 female hybrids on this blog and do not expect anything from her (due to Haldane ?!) but she will stay in the aviary. One thing you can be sure of: she is morbid obese. I blame the old lizard cocks feeding her all winter seeking attention and favors. Strangly she is still quiet active. Here weight is not bothering her for flying around in the aviary. Still a big difference compared to the european serins which can not stay still for a second.

      Third:
      One fenotype silver lizard hen. A very pale, almost white groundcoloured hen with an almost white clear cap. I have not checked her ringnumber yet but there will be some self green blood, most likely on the grandmother’s mother side. She can not close her right claws but manage using both legs. She completed a full nest on 3/5/2017 but removed this nest on 5/5/2017. She moved ten inches south for another nesting place. I expect the first eggs before 15/05/2017.

      I will keep you informed of the progress,
      Greetings Gust.

      Ps Thank you for the pdf in french. I am one of the 75% dutch speeking belgians. The flemish as a people have been discriminated for centuries by the french speeking nobles and bourgoisy. Myself as a young student have demonstrating in the famous year 1968 for “Leuven Vlaams”, meaning we wanted a university in our native tonque.
      Just looking for excuses for my very, very poor french language knowledge. The pdf makes me curious for your reasons to consider the european serin as at the origin of the fine spangled ones, so i will try to understand pages 149 and 163. The complete pdf i have to leave for the cold winter month’s but i will give it a go.
      The fire fronted serin is a bird of the mountains, migrating in spring to higher grounds for breeding. Maybe in the eighteenth century serinus pusillus was quiet common in the pyronees and alpes. The region of Carcassone is a likely candidate for the origin of the fine spangled ones. Maybe european serins, redfronted canaries and freshly imported serins of the canaries got mixed in the south of France in 1700.

  12. hello Gust
    It’s good to hear from you again – I thought you forgot about your promise… making hybrids european serin cock x lizard canary hen or the reverse would work as well being lizard cock x european serin hen.

    As I already told you in the book mentioned (and also in many other works by microscopial observation) the covert feathers of the european serin are surrounded by a light fringe and this could well be the start of the “spangled sort”. But this experiment has to be done with a lizard canary otherwise if done with a green colour canary the first thing will be to loose this specificity (we know that lizard pattern is recessive to the green canary) or it would take many years to reproduce it again in its perfection.
    That’s why it would be very interesting to know if the same is reproduced in the F1 chicks after their juvenile moult.

    Here in spain the wild serins are much in advance – some chicks already left their nest 10 days ago and are now feading almost by themselves. They are very good parents and all chicks survived after 2 full days of heavy rain. When I see them from my balcony I can spot their nice back straight spangles when they are feeding on the ground.
    Danielle
    danyd00@free.fr

    1. Hello Danielle,

      using the female european serin is somewhat more difficult for breeding hybrids than a canary hen. For one you need more space which i rather use for my young lizards.

      In the french pdf you mentioned before on page 163 there is a drawing of “grandes couvertures” feathers. I think these drawings refer to what the LCA people call lacings, not spangles.

      Maybe there is some confusion about the definition of spangles. When I think of spangles I mean:
      http://finespangledsort.com/lizard-canary-basics-12-head-and-shoulders/

      Above http://finespangledsort.com/fertile-hybrid-theory-the-serin/ there is a nice photo of the european serin. On the back of the bird I do not see spangles. There are stripes.
      When you enter a lizard with such a back on show you won’t get any points. If lucky you get a notification on your card: “tramlijnen” (railroads?!).
      My selfgreens and hybrids have such stripes so there would be no need for crossing with the lizard hen. My selfgreen canaries look like the “Jonque New London Fancy bred by Marko Dielen: adult plumage in 2015 ” on this blog under: http://finespangledsort.com/variegation-4-fugitive-black-gene/

      I guess your spanish serins show such stripes, not any spangles.

      mvg Gust

  13. It seems that we are not on the same wavelength:

    – for my part, I am simply trying to solve the clue of the origin of the lizard canaries which remains unknown . So it requires research and experiments to confirm or not the most likely assumptions. It is true that from the distance the backs of the European serins seem like “tramlines” but one must see closely (the infinitely small shows the detail).

  14. Danielle,

    different idea’s sometimes give more insight.

    Maybe we both are wrong sticking to the fertile hybrid theory. The LCA after WW2 went for an approach of steady selection and breeding lizard gold to lizard silver.

    Above you mentioned “(we know that lizard pattern is recessive to the green canary)”. In 2013 i searched the net for lizard genetics. No result.

    I agree on the above statement but had to cross selfgreen to lizard to find out. Do you have some links that give insight in lizard genetics?

    greetings Gust.

  15. Gust, the only approach I know of regarding lizard genetics is this one :
    http://www-old.ias.ac.in/jarch/jgenet/17/19.pdf
    done by Florence M Durham in 1908 and published in the Journal of genetics. She was the daughter in law of William Bateson the genetician.
    page 30 is mentioned an experiment done on the inheritance of the cap- the lizard pattern (the spangles) and the red eyes. Therefore the lizard canary was paired with a cinnamon.
    BE meant black eyes
    RE meant red eyes (or cinnamon)
    But I do not think those results are relevant as many facts were not taken into account :
    – the experiment was done on a small scale only.
    – the ancestry of the cinnamon involved was unknowned (variegation or other factors)

    Any news from your 3 expected pairings with the european serin ?

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