Above: The cere is the fleshy area above the beak. ‘Blue for boys, brown for girls’ is the general rule

Most established birdkeepers will be familiar with these terms, but for newcomers they need a bit of definition. FRED WRIGHT continues his jargon-busting series.

LET’S continue from where we left off last time (see October 25 issue) with some more useful terms that you will come across when keeping, breeding and exhibiting budgerigars.

Cage & Aviary Birds

The only weekly newspaper produced in the UK for all birdkeepers, which contains relevant news, features and advertising. It is frequently referred to as Cage Birds.

Capping or Directional Feather

When the feathers on the head spread outwards it is called capping, and described as directional feather. This has become a desirable feature on a modern exhibition budgie.

Catalogue (and Results Sheet)

This is a booklet that includes the list of exhibitors for each class, together with the results of the show and details of the specials winners. It includes adverts that are sold to raise funds for the organising society. A catalogue is something that is usually kept as a record of the major shows.


The fleshy nostril area above the beak. After the first moult it is generally blue for the cocks and brown for the hens – but there are exceptions. It’s the easiest way to sex mature birds.

Challenge Certificate

A Budgerigar Society (BS) patronage award for the Best of Colour group. Also known as CCs.

Championship Show 

A BS patronage show that issues Challenge Certificates.


The list of classes in a show schedule.

Closed ring

This is a ring that is placed on the leg of a bird when it is only a few days old. Society rings can be purchased through the BS. These show a breeder’s own code number and year, and are taken as proof of who bred the bird. Society rings allow budgies to win special awards at shows. Private closed rings can be purchased from suppliers and be used
for identification purposes only.


Usually refers to a full nest of eggs but is also used for a whole nest of youngsters by some fanciers.

Colony Breeding

This is a mixed aviary of breeding cocks and hens with access to nest-boxes, where the birds are usually able to select their own partners.


The wooden (or sometimes plastic) removable base to the nest-box with a hollowed-out bowl where the hen can
lay her eggs. The hollowed-out area is usually placed as far away from the entrance hole as possible.


For exhibiting, a budgie in good show condition is necessary. The term refers to good feather and implies a bird that looks fit and well. Breeding condition is all about a bird’s fitness for reproduction, such as its keenness to get breeding, produce fertile eggs and rear chicks,
with no reference to its feather fitness.

Controlled Breeding

When the fancier selects the pairs and each pair is placed in a cage with a nest-box. Compare Colony Breeding.

Dead in Shell

This is a description of an egg that fails
to hatch. The chick is fully developed but unable to escape through the shell. Various reasons are offered for this including lack of moisture, the shell being too thick and the chick being too weak to get through the shell.


A bird that stands well in a cage with a good back-line and character is said to have good deportment. Unfortunately, there are lots of birds that don’t stand well and have a poor back-line. These are described as having a poor deportment.


You can breed chicks of a dominant variety when only one of the parents carries the colour or is of the variety.
A bird cannot carry the dominant factor in hidden form, so no splits or carriers!


The former is what the bird hobby is usually referred to, while fanciers are the individual people who take part.


Adult budgies should have a clean cap but some have black markings – something like spots on the feathers in the cap. This is called flecking. It’s a serious fault on an exhibition bird.

To be continued…

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