Above: Photo: Don Dickson. One of Don’s Venezuelan blackwing budgerigar chicks: an opaline skyblue

 

A SPECIALIST BUDGERIGAR breeder from Edinburgh has achieved the first UK import and breeding of a rare mutation – the Venezuelan blackwing. (This first breeding was initially reported in Donald Skinner-Reid’s article in last week’s Cage & Aviary Birds.)

In January, colour budgie breeder Don Dickson brought home several Venezuelan blackwings from Europe and bred the first four chicks at the beginning of March.

Using three pairs and two hens, Mr Dickson has produced a total of 16 pure blackwings and 19 split-for-blackwing so far. He currently has eight eggs due to hatch, seven of which will be blackwings and one split.

He explained how it felt when the first chick hatched:“I was ecstatic, absolutely delighted. The first chick hatched on my partner’s birthday, March 7, which was a double bonus for me.

“When I brought the birds back from Europe, one of the females (who was the mum of the first chicks) laid an egg the day after arriving in the UK.

“I hadn’t provided a nest-box as she had just spent five days travelling, so the egg smashed on the bottom of the cage. She was obviously very keen to breed.”

As the Venezuelan blackwing mutation gene is recessive, Mr Dickson paired blackwings to black-wings, blackwings to split and blackwings to normal birds to bring in other col-ours and genes. The colours he has bred are: normal green; normal skyblue; opaline skyblue; normal yellowface sky; and opaline yellowface sky blackwing.

Mr Dickson doesn’t currently exhibit his budgies, but commented: “I may consider showing my birds in Europe in the future. But at the moment, my main focus is on building up the numbers of blackwings and improving the darkness of the wings, the colour contrast and the features I am looking for in these birds,specifically colour-wise.”

Now that the 2019 breeding season is nearly over, Mr Dickson said: “I have already produced carriers, so my plan for next year is to breed blackwing Easley clearbodies. I have also brought in the cinnamon gene and grey gene. My ultimate aim is to produce an Easley clearbody cinnamon grey green blackwing. Visually that will be a particularly stunning bird.”

 

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