HAMILTON & DISTRICT BUDGERIGAR SOCIETY INC.



CLEARWINGS:

Some of the colors for Clearwing are Clearwing (yellow-wing) Light Green, Dark green, Olive Green, Grey Green, and Skyblue, also for Clearwing (white-wing) Skyblue, Cobalt, Mauve, Violet and Grey.
The Clearwing budgerigar seems to be on the decline at the moment, despite the fact that the exhibition variety has improved beyond a recognition over the last few years. Enthusiasts must ask themselves, "What has gone wrong ?"

Firstly, the Budgerigar Fancy is a creature of fads, the popularity of colours waxes and wanes. Colour is what attracts many newcomers to the Fancy, some move on to other colours when they become more experienced but a number stick to their original choice and eventually become the backbone of their Specialist Societies. Presently fanciers who are looking for color are turning more and more to Albinos and Lutinos. Both quality and colour have improved recently and their numbers on the show bench have risen considerably, whereas Opaline Cinnamon numbers have dropped noticeably in the last few years. So Clearwings are not alone in dwindling numbers.

Deterioration in Wing color:
This brings me to my second point. What strikes me is the big deterioration in wing colouring over the years. I would not advocate putting up a friends because of better colour, that is not progress. I've heard a number of experienced fanciers blame too much outcrossing, but it could well be the reverse. Most have not yet found the right outcross and something needs to be done to stop the downward slide. Prominent breeders of Clearwings are very much against introducing Cinnamon into their birds, yet the clearest wings are usually on birds which are carrying the Cinnamon factor. While viewing Clearwings at a recent show, there in one of the Whitewing classes was a bird of good quality with lovely white wings. It also had a white tail. On the Judges close inspection he could see traces of Spangle markings on the wings. It was a Spangle Whitewing and had been wrongly classed. During discussions with a number of other fanciers, many of them remembered that the original Clearwing had a clear tail but the standard was changed to dark tail feathers which caused darker wings. The Spangle would be the answer to reviving the color and improving the quality of this variety. Little is known of the origin of the Spangle but it does seem generally accepted that they came from a mixed collection. They may well even be a mutation or even a modification of the Clearwing. Some fanciers say that if you look quickly at a lightly marked Spangle at first it seems to be a very good Clearwing. Or is it.?

Below are 3 pairing requirements to breed good Clearwings.

1. As with all varieties, when pairing Clearwings to produce exhibition standard birds, one must have the scale of points allocated by their countries governing body in mind. Some clubs have allocated the maximum number of points of 45 to size, shape, balance and deportment and so these features are of prime importance. This does not mean we pair our biggest birds together, regardless of any other feature, far from it, for colour is also very important. Colour and clearness of wing is allocated 35 points. Finally, size and shape of head, which prefer to categorise as face, carries 20 points.

2. To produce good Clearwings my first consideration is for clarity of wing. To do this I avoid pairing birds that have dirty wings visually or in their background and this is achieved by keeping detailed pedigree records which contain features and faults information alongside parentage details. This assessment for wing type is carried out over two generations. Good width of head is very important and I believe more so in the hen than the cock. I will not use a hen that has not got good head width and depth of mask. The cock may be a little down on width, but must have style without which it can undo all the other parts that the hen excels in.

3. The Clearwing like all recessive varieties has always been difficult to improve and is therefore a challenge. Breeding the ideal Clearwing needs dedication, patience and a certain amount of luck. The Clearwing comprises of the Green and Blue series, these are Yellow Wing, Light Green, Dark Green, Olive and Grey Green. White Wing, Sky Blue and Cobalt, Mauve, Violet and Grey. All have violet cheek patches as their normal counterparts except the Grey Green and Grey which have grey cheek patches. There is no short cut to the top. It takes time. Your prime consideration is to retain contrast in colour while trying to improve size and type. Clearwing means clarity of wing on a normal body colour. However in addition it must have head quality, length and size if it is to be a serious contender in the show area. To breed such a composite bird is genetically difficult and may take years of rigid selection to achieve and retain.

The bird we wish to breed must therefore have head quality including depth of mask, length, style and size with its main attribute being clarity of wing and body length. In other words a power bird with contrast of colour. Accurate records must be kept and selecting the lines with colour bred into them plus those with contrast and size. At the same time breed with outcrosses of yellows and whites. These are recessive to Clearwings and must be bolder and free from heavy wing markings. Over the passage of time you can manage to obtain some good yellows which breed rich colour. This has improved size and color of the Clearwing.

Understanding genetics:
If one can understand the genetics or refer to colour expectations it does save wondering what you will breed from certain pairings. Clearwings come in single factor and double factor. To determine which they are from the pairing of Clearwing to white or yellow if all young are Clearwing then Clearwing parents are double factor. However, if the pairing produce some white or yellow they are single factor.

Pairings found acceptable, providing the parents are of suitable quality, is light to dark. Yellow wing light green x yellow wing dark green, White wing Skyblue x white wing cobalt for example. This maintains the size and often improves the body colour of the lighter bird. Success has been made by pairing normal to Clearwing double factor, producing all normal split Clearwing i.e. all young visually normal. The best of these young are paired to Clearwings so it takes two seasons before one breeds Clearwings. This could be even longer if one uses normal to single factor Clearwing. So please study matings and expectations before embarking on this lengthy process. From a time point of view for maximum Clearwing progeny breed double factor Clearwings together. Alternatively, double factor Clearwing to single factor Clearwing, produces 50% single factor and 50% double factor. Double factor birds can have good body colour and size but tend to have dark wing markings. It has been known that such budgerigars have produced chicks with good clarity. Note which pairs have produced young superior to their parents. Try to understand which young can be produced from specific pairs.

Using Normals:
If you do decide to introduce good quality Normals, use hens which cannot be split for the sex-linked factor cinnamon and Opaline. Clearwing like other Budgerigars vary enormously. Some lack length, others poor heads, dirty wings, weak body colour. When we see good Clearwings at our shows how many of us actually consider how they were bred?

Favoured pairings:
Favourite pairings depend a great deal on the outcome of the previous breeding season results. If I have the necessary colours available I prefer to pair Whitewing Skyblue to Whitewing Cobalt or Violet. You can also try Whitewing to Yellow-wing with a Dark Factor bird on one side of the pairing, i.e., Whitewing Cobalt to Yellow-wing Light Green. The best outcrosses seem to come from Whites and Yellows bred from Normals. Another good example is a Normal split for White or Yellow paired to a Double Factor Clearwing. Various pairings have to be made to improve wing clarity and body color, all of which are difficult to put into one bird. Increasing size in Clearwings does not seem to be as difficult as maintaining it. Clarity of wing is possibly the hardest feature to improve and maintain. Newcomers to this variety should breed Clearwing to Clearwing so that a good number of Clearwings are bred forgetting about other varieties because Clearwings to Normals dilutes the Clearwing outcome.

E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca

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Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc.