To see colors above click thumbnails to enlargeConsidered to be the ancient ancestor to many other color pigeon breeds it was developed in Saxony and Thuringia. Strong, refined field pigeon form, low standing and clean legged. Oblong smooth with forehead somewhat curved. Eye car narrow and dark-colored in blues, blacks and Andalusian.
Light flesh colored in reds, yellows and isabelsMedium long, full at the shoulders, throat well cut out. Broad and deep, well-rounded. Clean leggedWell developed lying close and smooth. Black, blue, silver, Andalusian, opal, red, yellow or true browns which are now being allowed.
Isabel's color is to be even and light as possible but still allow the white bars to stand out. Andalusian Field Color Pigeons are rich dark blue gray... the darker the better.
Neck color on Andalusian's should be darker and very glossy with lots of green shine. Some lacing should appear on the wing shield from the darker ends of the feathers, the flights and tail are slightly lighter in tone than the rest of the bird.
(If color name is highlighted at the beginning of its description, click on it to see a picture.) DISCLAIMER: In recent years much has been discovered by the professional geneticist regarding inheritance.
We now must cope with terms such as “copy number variance”, which refers to the number of copies of a specific gene on a chromosome, “epigenetics”, which refers to changes that are due to causes other than simple gene mutation, and “co-dominance”, which I would hope is self-explanatory. What follows below is a treatment of “classical” or Mendelian genetics as applied to the domestic pigeon.
Here is a photo of a pair of bagless consisting of a true silver cock and a brown hen. If you ever obtain any black youngsters out of such a pairing, you can be sure that your ash is actually the spread factor rather than bagless.
Since it is dominant, any bird that carries it will show it and therefore it is very easy to follow. Indigo, in its heterozygous state, gives a blue pigeon a purplish hue and changes the bars or checks from black to a plum color.
In the homozygous state, indigo on a blue base mimics ash red, and such a bird resembles an ash red with a slightly darker ground color. On a black base, homozygous indigo yields a bird with a near-white ground color and darker lacing.
Indigo in combination with brown gives a bird that very closely resembles an ash red, but with richer wing markings and some tell-tale lacing on upper tail coverts. It has been noted by several fanciers and reported in the literature that indigo noticeably enriches the color of recessive red.
One way to identify dominant opal is by the light-colored shaft of the tail feathers. The most common expression of dominant opal is a light greyish-brown in place of the normal black bars or checkering.
Another common effect is that the normal blue ground color lightens up to a steely gray. Dominant opal in combination with ash-red is often indistinguishable from ordinary ash red.
When combined with black the results range from a very attractively laced bird with silvery ground color, to an overall gun-metal gray, all the way to what has sometimes been described as “dark mud” which is a washed out black with some lightening effects near the base of the feathers. That lightening effect is extremely variable, and the wing markings can range anywhere from a medium gray rather than black, to a greyish-tan, to a “bronze” black, to a pink or reddish hue.
The last often mimics the color of ash red, including the absence of a tail bar. Click here to see a photo of the extreme red phase of recessive opal.
The gene got its name when someone commented that it looked as if the pigeon was being viewed through a thick layer of smoke. The smokey gene is believed to be very common in the Janssen and Trenton strains of Racing Homers.
Reduced ash red in either bar or check pattern gives the closest thing I have seen to a pink pigeon. It changes a blue pigeon to a “true” silver (as opposed to the silver of the racing homer, which is actually ashed red bar), or as many US racing homer men call it, “don't bar” or “don't check”.
Pale is seen frequently in gold Modena and the Impel (Archangel) breed. Ideal recessive red coloration is uniform throughout, with the flight feathers and tail the same shade as the rest of the bird.
However, such ideal coloration requires some additional modifying genes, not all of which have been positively identified. It is claimed by many fanciers that indigo quite noticeably improves the color, and the spread factor does likewise.
(The best colored recessive red Racing Homer I ever owned was also spread and indigo.) This is particularly true in recessive red Racing Homers, where the emphasis is on performance rather than on color.
Many recessive reds and yellows, particularly among Racing Homers, exhibit a white mottling or “splash” effect on the windshields and head, and the cause of such mottling has not been firmly established. Click here to access an article I wrote concerning the inheritance of the mottling effect seen in many recessive red homers.
For example, homozygous grizzle causes a blue pigeon to be stork-marked (white body with some coloring on the flights and tail feathers), but a homozygous grizzle ash red is almost pure white, with perhaps a few very light red feathers visible upon close inspection. In other words, in a sex-linked mating the young are just the opposite color of the parents.
Indigo, dominant and recessive opal, toy stencil, etc. Pattern is an autosomal characteristic and therefore is controlled by 2 genes, one from each parent.
This simply means that recessive red covers or hides all other colors or patterns. Recessive red also hides (“is ecstatic to”) the underlying sex-linked color of blue-black, ash-red, or brown.
The spread factor is ecstatic to the pattern on an otherwise blue pigeon, making it appear solid black. To a geneticist and to breeders of most fancy breeds, it means the same as dilute blue bar.
Such a bird has a light silvery ground color with bars that are almost black. Also, a brown will fade considerably with continued exposure to sunlight, and usually will have “false pearl” or pinkish tinted eyes.
A true silver (dilute blue) will fade with heavy exposure to sunlight, but not nearly as much as a brown. The term “silver”, when used by Racing Homer breeders in the United States, or breeders of many of the show strains of the Racing Homer or the American Show Racer, means the same as “silver red bar”, which is simply an ash red bar pigeon with clear ash windshields and often with a “frosty” or silvery sheen to the feathers on the neck.
If such a bird shows any smuttiness or dirtiness in the windshield area, it is usually referred to as a “mealy”. The almond gene alone, which is sex-linked, simply is a “lightening” gene that cancels the effects of most pigments, making an otherwise blue pigeon look like a dirty white with a few dark flecks.
For a much more thorough treatment of the almond complex, see the link to Frank Tosca's website below. One gene appears to be responsible for the reversal of feathers, while additional “modifier” genes determine whether the reversal appears as a “peak” crest as in Oriental Frills and Archangels, or a “shell” crest as seen in Helmets, Nuns and English Trumpeters.
For the beginning fancier, however, it will suffice to think of crest as a recessive gene. In the case of the pigeon, it represents a blue bar bird of normal size, with clean legs, no crest or frill, orange eyes, etc.
In other words, it represents a bird resembling the “wild type” Rock Dove, Columbia Livia. “Wild type” in reference to the pattern series means barred; “wild type” in reference to foot feathering means clean legged; “wild type” in reference to basic color means blue; etc.
In discussing “wild type”, many pigeon geneticists envision a blue bar racing homer, although the racing homer is admittedly not “wild type” when the homing instinct is considered. It is a staple of certain owl breeds, as well as the Oriental Frill and the Turbid.
The trait showed up again in 2007 in the loft of Tom Barnhart of Ohio. Upon checking pedigrees, it was found that the Barnhart source as well as the original bird discovered by Larry Long both traced back to the same source loft of Pete Hogan in Buffalo, NY.
James Grate is currently (2010) doing breeding tests on this gene to see if there is any significant difference in the phenotypes of the heterozygous and homozygous forms. Update: Recent research by Grate and others seem to support the thesis that the drizzle gene is lethal in the homozygous form.