We use cookies to track usage and preferences. See Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
US
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

A perspective: my London fancies
Cage & Aviary Birds

A perspective: my London fancies

Posted Monday, April 13, 2015   |   1664 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 - 15 November 2017 Replica Edition included
$1.99
Or 199 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 1.18 per issue
SAVE
41%
$59.99
Or 5999 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only $ 1.17 per issue
SAVE
37%
$4.99
Or 499 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


How do digital magazines work?

How do digital magazines work?

Digital magazines can seem like an alien experience for devoted magazine fans. Where will you be without that new glossy magazine smell? The sound of the page turning? A quiet half hour to just devour the latest news and views on your favourite hobby? More...
STAFF PICK: Blocks Magazine

STAFF PICK: Blocks Magazine

Adam Osborn reviews Blocks Magazine More...
7 Ways to Stick to Your Workout with Your Fitness

7 Ways to Stick to Your Workout with Your Fitness

Whether it’s a busy schedule, life commitments or simply a lack of motivation, it can be tough to stay on track with your exercise regime. Your Fitness magazine asked Jim and Fiona Crossley, the founders of F45 Kingston (f45kingston.co.uk), for their tips on how to keep up with your training and achieve your fitness goals. More...
 3 Vegan Nice Creams from Vegan Food & Living

3 Vegan Nice Creams from Vegan Food & Living

The shades are out, the sunscreen is on and all you need to complete your summer chill is the best ice cream! More...
Carping4Heroes weekend raises £10k

Carping4Heroes weekend raises £10k

More than £10,000 was raised for Help for Heroes during the Carping4Heroes weekend, held for the first time at Cudmore Fisheries, Staffordshire. More...
STAFF PICK: Look magazine

STAFF PICK: Look magazine

Kate Ashley reviews Look magazine More...
STAFF PICK: F1 Racing magazine

STAFF PICK: F1 Racing magazine

Steven Mikellides reviews F1 Racing More...
Christmas Gifts for Her

Christmas Gifts for Her

Stuck for gift ideas for the lovely lady in your life? The Pocketmags team have pooled all their best ideas for gifts for her this Christmas. Get ready to earn some serious brownie points! More...
Nadiya Hussain's Tiramisu Cake

Nadiya Hussain's Tiramisu Cake

Nadiya tells Great British Food magazine: “The smell of strong coffee makes my stomach turn, but strangely enough I can just about bear the pain if I know it’s about to be mixed into cake, or tiramisu. Or – best of all – tiramisu cake!” More...
Failsafe  fingering

Failsafe fingering

In answer to a reader’s question, Graham Fitch addresses the complex subject of how to find fingering that works for you 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