Whenever we speak about green Budgerigars we refer to the varieties that most resemble the original wild Budgie from Australia. Many fanciers consider this the most beautiful color phase of all. Indeed, a good green bird is a particularly beautiful sight. We distinguish light greens, dark greens, and olive greens.

The coloration of the light greens is as follows:
The mask is buttercup yellow.
The upper part of the back and background of the wings are somewhat lighter yellow. There is a regularly spaced, black, wavy design on the wings, the back of the head, and the upper part of the back.
The long tail feathers are blue-black.
The rest of the body is a bright, grass green without lighter or darker spots. On the right and left side of the neck there are three bright, round, black spots, the last of which is partially hidden under the purple cheek patch.

The coloration of the dark greens is as follows:
The body is darker green.
The tail feathers are darker as well. For the rest, the coloration resembles that of the light green Budgie.

The coloration of the olive green is as follows:
The body is deep olive green.
The tail feathers are darker. For the rest, the coloration resembles that of the light green Budgie.

The yellow of the green Budgie may not be too light, and the green should be the true color. Colors should not be mixed. Dark and olive green Budgies have a common fault, the green is mixed with blue, or exhibits lighter spots. The risk of running into this fault is always present when one breeds blue into a green line. The best procedure is to achieve light green by repeat breeding with light greens. You can achieve dark green best by crossing light green with olive green. That way, you avoid the possibility that the dark green bird gets too much blue, which would make the color too pronounced. Olive green is achieved by crossing olive yellow or olive green with mauve. From the first of these crossings you are more likely to get birds that show a warmer tint of olive green.

The Light Green is, of course, the common ancestor of all the other colors. Some years ago there were more Light Greens excelling in type, colour and markings than there were birds of any other color, but the improvement in type which has been effected in some other varieties has deprived the Light Green of much of its former pre-eminence. Evenness and freedom from patchiness, as in all the other colors, is of course, required in Light Greens, and the colour should be the rich bright grass green called for by the Standard, and no other. A Light Green can be so light that there is almost a suggestion of yellow about its body colouring. On the other hand, a few so-called Light Greens are so dark that it is difficult when they are staged at a show to decide whether they are in the correct class or whether they should have competed against the Dark Greens. Similarly, we occasionally see birds in the Dark Green class lighter in color than some of the exhibits entered in the Light Green class. Not much harm is done, however, because birds so colored have no chance whatever of winning prizes under capable judges. The yellow parts of a Light Green should be bright and approximating to the color of a good Light Yellow, making a beautiful contrast with the intensely black markings. Blue shading on the thighs and underparts spoils many Greens, and a general dullness about the colouring is another color fault.

In the old version of a book called 'The Cult of The Budgerigar' second edition it was said in effect that Light Green x Light Green was the best way to breed exhibition specimens, and that there should be no variation in this mating when Light Green youngsters were the sole objective. In short, it advocated keeping Light Greens pure. This is a striking example of the mistake one can make in giving expression to predictions in so far as livestock breeding is concerned. Within a few years circumstances caused the writer to "eat his words" as he wrote in the third edition. All was going normally and well with Light Green breeding in this country until we suddenly realised that some of the best strains of this variety were ceasing to produce an adequate number of chicks. There was an obvious decline in fertility, the reason for which has never been discovered. It became clear that the situation was becoming worse season after season, that it could not put itself right, and that the urgent need to out-cross to other colours presented itself. At Lintonholme they mated some of the best Light Greens with Opalines. Fortunately they blended well, and soon by using selected Light Green/Opaline cocks and Light Green hens with one Opaline parent fertility showed signs of improvement, and the advantageous effect of the blend in so far as fertility was concerned became apparent. In addition they mated light Greens to Skyblues, and, again, there was improvement in fertility. As in the days before the craze for purity in Light Greens had got hold of us all, it has been discovered that some excellent show Light Greens are split for Blue, for Opaline, or for something else. The development in Light Green culture which I have described has, of course, made it more impossible than ever before to give anything approximating to a guarantee of purity to a purchaser; but people now fully realise that it is not essential to have complete purity in a Light Green family as we used to think it was.

Now please do not jump to the conclusion that, because of what was written, he deprecates the old pairing of Light Green to Light Green. He does not. Provided the birds are suitable in every respect as mates, when judged by visual properties and pedigrees, and there is no reason to think they will not produce other than a full quota of youngsters, then, of course, Light Green x Light Green is a correct mating and we who breed this, the oldest variety of them all, will annually use it (in addition) to pairing Light Greens with other colours. Many of us who once cherished the purity of our Light Green families have had to alter our attitude, not because of any particular desire to do so but because of circumstances beyond our control. And the experience we have had of outcrossing has taught us that we were too dogmatic when we affirmed that Light Green x Light Green was much the best way in which to breed birds of the highest class in this colour. As to which are the best colours for mating to Light Greens for the purpose described, my experience has mainly been with Opalines and Sky-blues, and I have not found any better, though I do not assert that these are the only suitable outcrosses.

Through the years of the development of the Budgerigar, the Light Green had proved to be so valuable as a cross for the retention and improvement of size, type, and stamina in the other colours, that the really pure Light Green became a rara avis. Breeders then became imbued with the idea of establishing families of pure Light Greens by mating Light Greens to Light Greens only, and certainly some top class birds were bred in this way. Although many Greens which have led their classes have not been pure, and the purity cult was perhaps something of a fetish. For reasons which I will explain in my remarks about breed Light Greens, this colour is now being out-crossed to other colors more extensively than was the case during the war and for a few years afterwards. This has been done not only with the object of improving other varieties, as in the old days, but to improve fertility in some of the best strains of Light Greens, which were beginning to fail in this respect. The Light Green's popularity remains constant. It continues to be a general favourite, and it provides intense competition at the leading shows.

The Dark Green is attractive as a show bird and has proved valuable for certain colour crosses. A good Dark Green, bright and level in color, and of that laurel tone which the best judges favour, is very pleasing. It must, however be a real Dark Green, not one of those dark Light Greens which I have referred to earlier. In recent years there has been a steady improvement in the quality and numbers of Dark Greens exhibited. Many of these are genetically Violet Dark Greens produced during the course of efforts to breed good Violets.

Dark Green x Dark Green gives us Dark Greens, Olives, and Light Greens. In recent seasons we have bred some pleasing Light Greens from this mating and a few Olives, which while not carrying the deep body colour which the best possessed in the days of this varieties popularity, have been pleasing. We have also bred some nice Dark and Light Greens from Dark Green x Light Green. For Sky blue and Cobalt breeding Dark Greens are at times valuable and they have become an integral part of our Violet breeding plan. If they are to be used for Cobalt breeding for instance, and they are bred from Cobalts, the latter must have been good in colour if they, in turn, are to breed good coloured Cobalts and the same principle applies, though I think to a lesser degree-there being less variation in shade in Skyblue to that which obtains in Cobalt-if they are to be used for Skyblue breeding. Dark Greens fall into two categories, Type 1 and Type II, a genetical distinction. Type 1 dark greens are the best for Blue breeding and Type II Dark Greens for Cobalt or Violet breeding. Many fanciers have found that correctly-bred Dark greens have a most beneficial influence on the color of Cobalts and Blues. They seem to brighten and deepen it, and when the dark greens used are very good in type, they can effect improvement in that direction also. Although, as I said the Olive is now a rare bird, for the benefit of those who may wish to revive the variety, I will repeat what I said about their breeding. The object of the breeder of Olives is to produce birds deep and level in colour and free from any signs of green. The principal Matings are Olive/blue x Mauve, Olive x Mauve, Olive/blue x Olive/blue, Olive/blue Olive, and Olive x Olive.

These I will divide into two sections to simplify consideration of the question, viz.: Olive x Mauves and Olive in appearance x birds Olive in appearance, ignoring for the moment the Olives invisible in color factors, if any. While it is undoubtedly correct to say that some of the best and darkest coloured Olives have been bred from Olives (split or otherwise) x Mauve, I have come to the conclusion that providing you have in your possession several Olives of the correct Shade and depth of colour, you can maintain these qualities by persisting in the mating Olive x Olive, thus founding a strain of pure Olives. Actual practice has proved that when Olives are rather light in colour one can deepen the colouring in the offspring by mating to a deep coloured Mauve, but even so it would seem that the introduction of a sufficiently good deep coloured Olive, if procurable, would be just as satisfactory an enterprise. Sight must not be lost of the fact that an Olive and a Mauve are one and the same in coloration except that the latter is void of yellow pigment and as the Mauves are quite as patchy in colouring if not more so, than many Olives, it becomes theoretically difficult to recognise why a Mauve should be any better as a cross to an Olive than an Olive itself, assuming that the Olive and the Mauve are equal in depth and evenness of colouring. On the other hand so few are the good Olives available today that anyone who might decide to found a family of Olives on the lines I have described would have to resort to Mauves, of which good ones are more numerous.

Incidentally, I do not know of anyone who is considering this enterprise. In the old days when good Olives were plentiful I used Olives/blue in Cobalt, etc., production with much success. When using the cross Olive/blue to Mauve for both Olive and Mauve production, I prefer to use an Olive with one Mauve parent instead of an Olive with one Cobalt parent. We have bred pleasing Olives in recent years from Dark Green x Dark Green. Another method of producing Olives is Dark Green/blue x Mauve. Anyone who wishes to breed some good Olives, should not overlook the virtues of the Opaline cross. There are a few quite good Opaline Olives in the country. We have bred some from Opaline Dark Green x Opaline Dark Green and Opaline Dark Green x Dark Green.

E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca


Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc.