This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
EU
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the European Union version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Digital Subscriptions >  Latest Articles > A perspective: my London fancies

A perspective: my London fancies
Cage & Aviary Birds

A perspective: my London fancies

Posted Monday, April 13, 2015   |   2749 views   |   Family & Home   |   Comments (0) BERNARD HOWLETT describes his approach to breeding the London fancy canary and looks forward to a revival of the variety

Both the Lizard and the London fancy are variegated birds and came from the same ancestors. The London fancy is a variegated and “dilute” form of the Lizard, while the Lizard is a feather-controlled version of the London fancy. It is very delicate in feather control when paired to another variety of canary.

Although we generally look at the Lizard as a form of self, it is a type of variegated bird. Clear-capped Lizards have an area of clear feathers on their crown that are devoid of melanin pigment, as is the area of skin from hich they grow. This makes them variegated birds. Lizard canaries are unique because they have been bred for centuries to “fix” the feature and position of variegation, so that it only appears on their heads. This, however, is not strictly true, as light feathers do appear from time to time in studs. These birds are not used for breeding purposes, so that the true image is maintained.

Simply pairing it to another canary can spoil the unique pattern of the Lizard and hundreds of years of selected breeding is lost. That is what I did in 1997, when I attempted to breed a bird that looked like a London fancy. This was not the London fancy itself, because I thought at the time it would be impossible to discover its real image. I paired Lizards with green opals, which I thought would break up the controlling features of the Lizard. Both are recessive “self” birds that have dark underflue, are of the same size and perch in the same manner.

I only paired this combination of varieties for a couple of years, and since then I have tried to control the variegation left by the crossing. Variegation is difficult to control, but the Lizard pioneers managed to do it and I will never give up trying.

"I’ve had to rely on trial and error, but have indeed some evidence of a dominant factor"

What I need is in the form of a dominant gene – if I can discover this, I can produce a lookalike London fancy. I’ve had to rely on trial and error, but have indeed found some evidence of a dominant factor within my strain.

Many of my birds are clear with black wings, while some have a few black tail feathers. Within the past few years, however, I have bred birds with a completely black Lizard-like tail. Some have faults elsewhere in their plumage, and a tiny number are exceptional look-alike London fancies.

All those with a black tail produce roughly one in four offspring with a black tail. I assume this dominant factor for hue of tail is single-factor. I have yet to breed a pair of these together to establish a double factor. If a double factor for black tails is created, I suspect this will enhance the percentage of black-tailed birds bred. The darkness of beak and legs of the single factor black-tailed birds is quite dark.

The dominant factor for black tails probably comes from the opal, which I used in 1997-98.

Projects concerning the London fancy have come a long way during the years I have worked on my own venture. The climate is now open to further experimentation. The London Fancy Canary Club’s membership is growing and soon will produce lookalike London fancies each year, which the hobby can be proud of.

Bernard Howlett is the general secretary of The London Fancy Canary Club.

For more great articles like this get the No.5849 Meet the Bananaquit issue of Cage & Aviary Birds below or subscribe and save.

Single Issue - 15th August 2018 Replica Edition included
€2.29
Or 229 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only € 1.27 per issue
SAVE
44%
€64.99
Or 6499 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only € 1.29 per issue
SAVE
40%
€5.49
Or 549 points

View Issues

About Cage & Aviary Birds

Cage & Aviary Birds is the world’s only weekly newspaper for birdkeepers. Written by bird experts for bird fans, it is packed with news, advice and comment from the avicultural scene. An essential resource for members of bird clubs and societies, it also offers an unrivalled marketplace for sellers and buyers of birds and all bird-related products, both in the British Isles and around the world.

More great content like this...

For more great articles like this subscribe to Cage & Aviary Birds today.

Most read articles this month


ALEX HILDRED: MARY ROSE DIVER

ALEX HILDRED: MARY ROSE DIVER

When she took up scuba 40 years ago, Alexandra Hildred had no idea that her life would become inextricably linked with a Tudor warship. Now the Mary Rose Trust’s Head of Research and Curator of Ordnance & Human Remains, she tells STEVE WEINMAN about the lead-up to the raising of the iconic wreck, still one of the biggest such operations ever attempted. More...
WHEN THE MUSE GOES MISSING!

WHEN THE MUSE GOES MISSING!

Nashville songwriter Mark Cawley shares some tactics for reviving those elusive creative juices when you’ve lost the flow More...
The 5 Best Photography Magazines

The 5 Best Photography Magazines

Here at pocketmags.com, we have the 5 best photography magazines to inspire and inform your skills and get you snapping away with your beloved camera of choice! More...
5 Digital Magazines for Spring

5 Digital Magazines for Spring

Here at Pocketmags, we simply cannot wait to welcome in a new season of bloom and blossom. Jumpstart your motivation with our selection of 5 digital magazines for spring. More...
The 5 Best Arts & Crafts Magazines

The 5 Best Arts & Crafts Magazines

From the early days of digging our hands into playdough and getting messy with paper mache, to growing up and learning how to meticulously operate a needle and thread for the very first time, we will always have the wonderful movement of arts and crafts to thank for these simple pleasures of life. More...
The 5 Best Gardening Magazines

The 5 Best Gardening Magazines

It’s time to literally stop and smell the roses and grow a patch of paradise that you can not only enjoy but also, be the proud owner of. Give the birds and butterflies a reason to mingle amongst the tulips and a chance for your garden to be the best it can be. More...
New to Pocketmags: True Crime Library

New to Pocketmags: True Crime Library

Pocketmags is eager to announce the adoption of a range of new and thrilling titles - ones that are sure to fascinate or spook you to your core - we introduce you to, True Crime Library. More...
The 5 Best Caravan & Motorhome Magazines

The 5 Best Caravan & Motorhome Magazines

Get ready to pack your things and go - it’s time to hit the road Jack! Put the pedal to the metal and ride the route until the sun goes down - after all, it’s about the journey, not the destination. More...
Who Will Get Your Nomination? Total Film or Empire

Who Will Get Your Nomination? Total Film or Empire

Pocketmags is celebrating another year of incredible filmmaking by reflecting on two of our top selling digital film magazines, Total Film magazine and Empire magazine. More...
The 5 Best Food Magazines

The 5 Best Food Magazines

Our trusty list of the 5 best food magazines will help to inspire your inner chef and create the everyday meals you can start getting excited about. More...
Vouchers Gift Cards A magazine subscription is the perfect gift but you'll need something to show on the big day. View All
Ways to Pay Pocketmags Payment Types
At Pocketmags you get Secure Billing Great Offers HTML Reader Gifting options Loyalty Points