The Future Whitefaced Greens

Margaret Young’s excellent article in the October 1995 issue of the RV&CBS; Newsletter will, I hope, make many members think very carefully on the subject of the descriptive titles given to some of the budgerigar varieties and mutations. I think the article deserves a much wider audience, and I hope that Margaret will consider forwarding it to Cage & Aviary Birds or even to the editor of the Budgerigar Society’s journal.

I also have for many years thought that a Whiteface Green mutation was entirely feasible. I do not have Margaret’s widespread knowledge of genetics, as my limited knowledge is from what I have been able to assimilate from listening, reading, and experimenting over about forty years, but it seemed obvious to me that as the amount of yellow pigmentation in budgerigars can and does vary considerably, from full golden-yellow colouring down to nil quantity – and that some areas of a bird can show yellow while other areas show none at all. It must be only a matter of time before we have a bird with yellow in it’s body feathering but with none (leaving just white) on its head or face. I did, actually write of the possibility of a future Whiteface Green in correspondence withClive Hesford, our vice-president, a few years ago. He may recall the circumstances.

We know that all those that can loosely be called the Blue mutations, whether they be the ones we call Yellowface, Goldenface, or the more common Whiteface, suppress the yellow pigment of the”wild type” green bird (the Light Green) in varying degrees, depending on which mutation it actually is, and whether the character has been inherited in single or double factor (dose). The common White-face Blue mutation and the double factor version of Yellowface Blue Mutant 1 suppress the yellow completely, giving us a bird with a blue body and white head and mask. All those mutations mentioned, with their “wild type” allele form what is known as a series of “multiple allelomorphs”. That is because all the mutated genes responsible, are alternative mutations of the same original pair in the “wild type” Green bird. As I explain in my book, I think of “alleles” as “allies”. I find that it helps. Allies work together, and so do alleles.

It would seem to me then that the mutated gene (or pair of genes) necessary to create the visual effect of a Whiteface Green, would also follow a similar pattern of restricting the yellow pigment incertain areas, and would therefore, very likely, be an addition to the existing series of multiple allelomorphs.

When the Whiteface Green does appear, I think the Fancy will have to call the normal Green series birds “Yellowface Greens”. It seems to me to be entirely logical that this should happen. If so, the calling of other birds “Yellowface Greens” will have to cease.

At present, some people call a Green bird which carries one mutant gene of the allelic series mentioned, a Yellowface Green, when they should rightly call it a Light (or Dark, etc) Green split Yellowface Mutant 1 Blue (or Mutant 2, or Goldenface Blue). All Blue series birds, whether they be Yellowface, Goldenface or Whiteface, are recessive to Green, so a visually Green bird can be split for Yellowface Blue Mutant 1, Yellowface Blue Mutant 2, or Goldenface Blue, in exactly the same way as it can be for ordinary Whiteface Blue. A Blue bird of any of the mutations mentioned, when bred with another Blue bird of the same or any other Blue mutation will produce a Blue result, whether it be Yellowface, Goldenface or Whiteface. A Whiteface Green mutation will make the series even more interesting.

Anyway, thanks very much Margaret for your thoughts on the subject. I, for one, look forward to your other predictions.

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