In Lizard Canary Basics 8 I illustrated over-year Lizard canaries with photographs of four birds before, and after, their second moult. An impossible task, because the signs of ageing cannot be summarised in four specimens. A couple of photos that I received from Antonio Petraroli in Italy showed some other variations which are worth sharing.
We will start with Antonio’s over-year non cap silver hen which you can see in the photo above. She displays the usual white tips in her wings and tail, but the feature that stands out is how well she has retained her spangles; not just on the back but also on the head.
Next is his silver hen that I selected as Best Broken Cap at the Bologna show in 2014. In addition to the usual white tips there are very pale zones in the wing and tail. This is a significant change because, as a show bird, she possessed extremely dark primary flight feathers with negligible phaeomelanin brown at the edges. A feature that anyone would want to fix in their stud. In my opinion she is a classic example of why you should never dismiss an over-year bird simply because the melanins have regressed more than usual.
Finally, in the background you can see an over-year bird that has grizzled tail feathers. Note how the melanins have faded across the vanes, not just at the tips. It doesn’t look attractive, but like the broken cap hen, I’m sure Antonio will have retained her for a reason. There is no substitute for knowing your birds and their family history.