LCA Classic 2019, part 2: a judging tutorial

My guest contributor this week is David Allen, who judged the Lizards at the LCA Classic.  Here he explains how he went about his task and describes some of the finer details he looks for in the Lizard canary.

A few days before I was about to judge the 2019 LCA classic I received an email from the vice chairman of the LCA, asking if I would mind if two Italian visitors who were coming to the show could observe me while I was judging.

I was only too pleased to agree.  My style of judging suits having people to talk to and being able to explain my selections. So, when Pino Scalamandrè and his son Roberto arrived at the show, Jeremy Goacher the LCA chairman introduced me and I explained that I was happy to talk through my selections with them. They seemed only to pleased with my offer. 

Roberto is studying at Warwick University and his English is very good; he translated for his father who did speak some English – much better than my Italian I must say!

LCA Classic 2019: Best colour-fed Lizard, a broken cap gold hen by Alex Maclean (photographed prior to the show)

I explained to them why I had selected the winning bird in each class and also pointed out certain faults on some of the others in the class, such as white tips to flight feathers. Another was the fact that the cap was too long.

I also explained that I had spotted a few ‘one siders’.  This was something I don’t think they had ever heard of before.  I will explain what a one sider is.  It is a bird that when you see it from one side the spangles line up really lovely, but when the bird turns around the other side is the complete opposite, with the spangles not lining up at all.  In fact sometimes you can think you are looking at a totally different bird.  I did spot a few examples at this year’s Classic, but I have not studied the Lizards at any show so far this year as I wanted to see them fresh.

classic Lizard canary
LCA Classic 2019: Best natural coloured Lizard, a non cap hen by Tony Horton

Pino pointed out one bird he liked, it was a bird with “lots of breastwork, lovely no”?   I explained that although it had a lot of breastwork, the rowings did not form lines and they were not defined as individual markings.  In fact it had what I call a ‘Mistle thrush’ chest. There does seem to be a liking for these type of birds in some parts of Europe. 

I went on to explain how I judged the birds for the special prizes: what I do is pick the 5 best silver and the 5 best golds from my class winners in each section (champion and novice) then put them together to get my top 5 champion exhibits and my top 5 novice exhibits, then put these together to get my top 5 in show.

From this most of the other special prizes can very easily be worked out, such as Best broken cap, Best clear cap etc.

Pino Scalamandre (right) and his son Roberto (left) with Jeremy Goacher and David Allen

My Italian guests did seem to enjoy their time with me, and I enjoyed my time with them.  I hope I helped them to understand the UK judging of Lizards.

David Allen, LCA panel judge.  


My thanks to David for taking the time to write this article.  I hope readers will learn from it.

3 thoughts on “LCA Classic 2019, part 2: a judging tutorial

  1. A great Day out had by all, well done to the officials for all the work they put into this to make the show a fantastic success, well done Huw for the article, another great advert for the LCA

  2. Some flights and tail feathers are lost during the moult – in my case often as a result of plucking by other birds – however I wasn’t sure that a white tip to such a feather when it grows back was an actual fault. It certainly detracts from the bird and if all things are equal a bird that isn’t showing any year 2 feathers would be place above one that has that issue.

    Perhaps David or Huw could elaborate for me.

    1. Ironically, I remember relegating a broken cap silver hen of David’s to second in its class at a major show because of a white tip on its wing. In hindsight, I regret that decision because it was a superior bird to the winner in every other respect. I am more tolerant these days; I regard it is an accidental fault rather than an intrinsic defect. It might make the difference in a close contest, but it should never stop the best bird winning, as you will see in my report of I Show Nacional del Canario Lizard.


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