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Category Archives: Articles UK

Blue, blue type2, turquoise, *sapphire*, *teal*,…. and so much more ….

Blue, blue type2, turquoise, *sapphire*, *teal*,…. and so much more ….

Article published in BVA International Magazine April 2019.

By Dirk Van den Abeele
Ornitho-Genetics VZW
MUTAVI, Research & Advice Group

Everyone knows by now that in recent years there has been a lot of talk about blue birds within the genus Agapornis. For starters, we are now certain about the existence of blue type2 in Agapornis fischeri, there is the possibility of several new mutations and a breeder in Spain has bred green young from a pair of blue Agapornis personatus. It goes without saying that a lot of people are left with questions. A lot of the questions we currently get are about this topic and the internet and social media is buzzing with rumour, gossip, theories and speculation. Each person has his own opinion. Hence it is difficult to get a clear view on the matter.

Taxonomy in a nutshell

Taxonomy in a nutshell

By Dirk Van den Abeele
Ornitho-Genetics VZW
MUTAVI, Research & Advice Group

Published BVA-International magazin August 2017

I can imagine that most aviculturists are occasionally lost and wonder what taxonomy is, and more to the point what the connection with our hobby actually is? An understandable reaction. I can imagine that most of us have been breeding birds for decades and have never asked this question or have concerned ourselves with taxonomy, but still, taxonomy is closely related to our hobby.

20 years of international names for Psittaciformes

20 years of international names for Psittaciformes

By Dirk Van den Abeele
Ornitho-Genetics VZW
MUTAVI, Research & Advice Group

Published BVA-International magazine december 2018

In July 2018 I had a meeting / lecture with a group of students in the Netherlands. Afterwards I had a talk with a few people. One of them mentioned that the international names, and I quote literally: “were actually the egg of Columbus and that they definitely helped the hobby and made it more creditable”. A comment which I did not expect from such a young person and which pleased me, I must admit. It becomes more and more obvious that most young people do appreciate this. But this has not always been the case.

Is myostatin the catalyst behind the “standard” birds?

Is myostatin the catalyst behind the “standard” birds?

Published: BVA magazine 01-10-2008
on-line: 11-11-2008

By Dirk Van den Abeele

Who does not know them, the “long feathered” or standard A. roseicollis? They are usually the champions of the show and excel in size and colour. For this reason this type of bird is highly desirable to most breeders. The difference with the “normal” A. roseicollis is significant, the “long feathered” birds literally tower above the “normal” types. When in 1992 these birds were first displayed on the BVA show this generated, as per usual in the bird world, the usual distrust and gossip, wild assumptions and doubt. For the bird enthusiasts are notoriously conservative and new things, especially when they cannot be explained easily, usually encounter a lot of prejudice. Those who could acquire such a “long feathered” bird and bred it were very happy. Others who did not own these birds were cautious.

Forpus coelestis: Yellam green

Forpus coelestis: Yellam green

By Dirk Van den Abeele

Ornitho-Genetics VZW
MUTAVI, Research & Advice group

It was at the end of 1980 when in the USA an ‘almost yellow’ Forpus coelestis was born [1].  The fact that this new mutation had dark eyes, could immediately exclude the possibility of an ino form.   With an ino mutation, it is typically that besides a visual reduction of the eumelanine presence (the dark pigment in the feathers), resulting in a yellow bird, thus the eyes can also not have the normal dark colour, but they are red coloured [2, p. 345].  Not only these red eyes are absent with this mutation, also the body colour is not yellow like a ino is, but is generally described as ‘light yellowgreen’.

Red lovebirds, a mutation?

Red lovebirds, a mutation?
[Genus Agapornis]

By Dirk Van den Abeele
(16-02-2005)
(updated 13/12/2007)

It was around 1980 when I first came across a ‘red’ love bird in a shop. It was a lutino A. roseicollis hen which for some reason was coloured almost completely red. The result was an almost completely red bird, with red eyes, white primaries and an occasional yellow feather. At that point I did not know whether this was a mutation or not. I thought it was a normal mutation and bought the bird. I was convinced that this would enable me to start breeding red birds but that was not the case. After about 6 months the bird died without having produced offspring. I vowed that if I ever got the chance I would buy another specimen and to start a blood line.

On request: Blue, aqua and turquoise mutations in Lovebirds

Blue, aqua and turquoise mutations in Lovebirds

Published in BVA Magazine 2014

By Dirk Van den Abeele
MUTAVI, Research & Advice group
Ornitho-Genetics VZW

Translated by Daniel Nuyten

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UPDATE 31/12/2018: after severall testmating (from differend breeders) we were able to confirm that in Agapornis fischeri there is also a blue type 2. Homozygote birds blue type 2 are completely blue, without any psittacine traces, but in combination with normal blue (type1), the birds (bl1/bl2) have a turquoise phenotype.
For the sake of clarity we must add to it that not all breeders confirm that ‘homozygote turquoise’ have a blue phenotype. That can indicate that besides a blue type 2 there there is  also possible a normal turquoise mutant (homozygote birds have a turquoise phenotype in this mutation).  The inheritance of blue type 2 is not included in this article.
You can read all about it here: https://www.ornitho-genetics.info/?p=15088

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Blue.
The first blue colour mutation in parakeets most likely appeared in budgerigars. Reports of blue budgies already date back to 1878 when one was born by a breeder in Belgium. (van der Linden, 2002, p.9).
However, this wasn’t the only species where blue birds showed up. During the years blue mutations appeared in many species. In lovebirds they found the first blue Agapornis personatus in a shipment of imported birds from Tanganyika (Tanzania) to England in 1927 (SETH-SMITH, 1932). Blue A. fischeri, A. nigrigenis and A. lilianae were acquired through transmutations. There are also *blue* Agapornis roseicollis, but everyone knows by now that this is a selection type of turquoise, so genetically not a true blue mutation.

On request: English translation The marbled – greywing mystery (aka quartz)

The marbled – greywing mystery

Written by Dirk Van den Abeele, translated by Evy Dens
Ornitho-Genetics VZW
MUTAVI, Research & Advice group

I don’t think that there is one mutation in Agapornis roseicollis that has had so much name changes than marbled.
The first marbled A. roseicollis was most likely born in America. We can deduce this from the original name of the mutant. In the early stages, one spoke of the “American golden cherry”, which was a deformation of the American cherryhead or simply the American yellow or American yellow pastel. When the first marbled appeared in the aqua and turquoise series, names such as silver, silver cherry etc surfaced. Overall there was enough variation.

Parblue mutations – PPR partial psittacine reduction

Lots of breeders are asking questions about possible new alleles of the blue locus in ringnecks.
I am afraid that the answer to this question is not that easy. Till now, only 2 “parblue” loci are recognized: aqua and turquoise. That doesn’t mean that other alleles are not possible. The only problem is how to determine that a particular phenotype is indeed a new allele, because a PPR (partial psittacine reduction) mutation is not as simple as we might think.

The blue colors seen in feather barbs of several bird species is produced by interference. But not only this interference has its influence on the final color, lots of other factors can change the visual color of a feather, so also a parblue feather.