The Spangle Mutation by Cyril H. Rogers
Taken from the Spangle Review, October 1988There can be no doubt that the news of the appearance of the Spangle mutation in Australia in 1978 caused more than a ripple of excitement amongst British and European budgerigar breeders. The first specimens came to England via Europe and at once there was a tremendous demand for the limited stock that was available at the onset. The Spangle character being a dominant was (and is) reasonably easy to reproduce but where the trouble started was when some breeders did not give enough thought to the selection of the mates for their newly acquired Spangles from the colour angle. In their understandable desire to increase the numbers and improve(?) the quality of their Spangles they were mated to specimens of existing colours such as Opalines, Cinnamons, Whites, Yellows, Clearwings and even Lacewings and Inos with many of the birds being of coarse buff type. In the fist instance a lost of these matings gave rise to some excellent looking Spangles but they, or at least a good percentage of them, were carriers of those other colour characters and modifiers. Later matings produced Spangles both in their normal and mutant forms with all of them losing much of their attractive spangling. The round black throat spots with their yellow or white centres deteriorated into just dark marks and are often missing altogether. The black feather edging began to get unevenly spread on the neck, back, wings, flights and lesser tail feathers and often pale and indistinct.. A great many of the Spangles we see today are large, soft feathered poorly coloured specimens, it would seem that the attractive markings of the original birds may have been sacrificed to try and get size. If this is the case what can be done by breeders to bring back the delightful true colourings?
With the co-operation of a number of breeders I have been able to collate the breeding results of some 147 pairings where Spangles have been paired to Normals of varying pedigrees. The best coloured results were obtained when the Spangles (of different degrees of perfection) were paired to Normals that were pure i.e. not split for other colours and even better when these Normals had been bred from one Spangle parent and a pure Normal. These crosses did not always give satisfactory results when the Spangles used carried other colour characteristics in their genetical make-up. In addition to these are various modifiers which may have been inherited from one or both of their parents each having its own special effect on the final product. The Normals resulting from these matings should not be used for further Spangle matings as in the second generation there may be birds that carry undesirable traits. A plan on these lines was carried out by a breeder of Recessive Pieds with excellent results. I feel certain that if breeders use this method for pairing their Spangles, selecting the best marked birds for each pairing and paying more attention to correctness of colour rather than just bulk we shall see, in time, a great many more well marked Spangles on the show benches and in the breeders birdrooms.
Cyril H. Rogers