Bird’s eye view: London Fancy look-alikes

A photograph of a white ‘London Fancy’ appeared on Kanarioloog last autumn, but was soon taken down.  I feared that might be the last we would see of the bird, but thanks to friends in Spain and Belgium, I have managed to track it down.

According to my information, the bird is a hen and was bred by a Belgian breeder from a cock agate eumo recessive white x hen agate recessive white split for eumo.  While it looks like a London Fancy, it is not the true race: there are two clear feathers in its tail; it has dark red eyes; the legs and claws are flesh coloured.

It has no known connection with Piet Renders’ strain, but shares one of its essential characteristics: the bird moulted from dark to light during the moult.  The term ‘dark’ is relative; being a eumo, the juvenile melanins were presumably no more than fine grey stripes.  Whether the loss of melanin was caused by a mutation or a metabolic malfunction is not yet known, but that should become clear as the breeder attempts to fix the trait.

This is not the first new colour London Fancy look-alike to have appeared in the last year.  Cage & Aviary Birds published photographs of a bird (bred from a red ivory agate opal x red ivory agate split opal) that also lost most of its melanins at the first moult, resulting in a rose coloured canary with dark wings and tail.  Very attractive and equally mysterious.

Could this be more than a coincidence?

Footnotes:

  • My thanks to the breeder of the eumo LF for permission to publish the photograph.  He wishes to remain anonymous.
  • Thanks also to my friends who did the investigative work, I am merely taking credit for it.

4 thoughts on “Bird’s eye view: London Fancy look-alikes

  1. The first one is a wonderful bird. I don’t think it is a “look-alike” like you say. I suspect whatever the mutation(s) causing the london fancy pattern in this bird is/are the same mutation(s) that caused the pattern in the extinct london fancies. The only difference here is that the london fancy mutation(s) coexists in the same bird with the agate, eumo and white mutations.

    The fact that it has two white feathers in its tail (which I can’t see) may simply mean that it also has a mutation for it, which is pretty common in canaries. But if one crossed this bird with other modern-day London fancies, trough selection all these unwanted mutations could be purged and the result would be “true” London fancies.

    And I might be wrong, but I find very hard to believe that a metabolic malfunction would cause such a perfectly symmetric pattern like the one we see in this bird. And the bird looks healthy.

    Cheers.

    1. There have been a few of these birds in recent years. They seem to appear from nowhere. I can offer two possible explanations:

      1. Perhaps they have appeared before, but we only get to see them now thanks to the internet.

      2. Perhaps they acquired the LF gene from a bird descended from Piet Render’s bloodline. This seems more likely to me. It would explain both the phenotype and the recent occurrence of these birds.

      Unfortunately I have heard nothing more about these birds or their offspring.

      1. I don’t know exactly how the original London fancy went extinct.

        If it went extinct without leaving any descendants (I mean, outcrosses with non-London fancies) then such London fancy types like this bird may be a product of *de novo* mutations.

        If the London fancies did leave descendants, which i suppose they did because it’s very unlikely that no one ever crossed a London fancy with other canaries (it happens all the time, mostly by people who only want canaries for pets and don’t care about purebred birds), then i’m tempted to believe that some London fancy supposed look-alikes like this one are in fact the remote descendants of the original London fancy. The mutations(s), recessive ones if this hypothesis is true, passed unnoticed generation after generation until, by mere chance, two “normal” birds split for London fancy pattern were paired together and produced a bird like the one in the photo.

        You say there have been a few of these birds in recent years. But did they only really appear in recent years or were also common in the past but no one was paying attention?

        Or maybe they did appear as often in the past but no one bothered to tell other people because there wasn’t much interest in the London fancy as there is nowadays.

        1. There has always been interest in the London Fancy. There were attempts to revive the breed throughout the 20th century but none succeeded until Piet Renders bred the first new London Fancy in 2003. There have also been spontaneous mutations that look like the LF, but they have never become established.

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