Above: Longtail: welcome in the new classes at this year’s Western Premier Specialist & Rare Variety Budgerigar Show. Judge Jeff Attwood says longtail classes may not be as popular at rare variety shows, because clearwings, dilutes, recessive pieds etc, don’t usually produce longtails. ‘The longtail mutation is generally among the more common varieties such as greygreens, greys, cinnamons,’ he said. ‘But it’s great to see any show opening its doors to longtails. Maybe more will follow’


THE NOTORIOUS LONGTAIL budgerigar is set to make a shock appearance on the competitive show bench in Bath this season.

On September 15, the Western Premier Specialist & Rare Variety Budgerigar Show will add longtails to its existing mutation section, which comprises classes for cocks and hens.

The section has been renamed “Non standard or new mutation including longtails” and exhibits will compete for a best of colour award in all sections. (The event does not offer a best-in-show award.) Officials say the longtails will be judged in the same way as any exhibition budgerigar.

The longtail is described by the Budgerigar Society (BS) as “a bird with an excessive length of one or both of the two primary tail feathers taking account of the overall length of the budgerigar”. Such birds must be disqualified at all BS-affiliated shows, but the Western Premier is an independent event.

Show manager Dave Guppy said: “For the past eight to 10 years, there have been more of these birds appearing in birdrooms. I’ve spoken to numerous fanciers over the past 24 months and many say these longtails are a distinct mutation.”

Well-known fancier Jeff Attwood, from Devon, encouraged the show to host longtails. Delighted to confirm his judging engagement with this new section, he told Cage & Aviary Birds: “I believe the longtail is a dominant mutation. Today’s longtails are birds of this mutation repeating from similar ones that occurred in the 1950s. And some breeders feel once again that there may be benefit in these longtail birds to bring improvement in to their own stud.”

But, he added, not every fancier will admit they have longtails. “Some see it as being detrimental to their stud,” he said. “But I believe if you buy a budgerigar from a top source nowadays, it is very likely that they have the mutation and therefore you have a chance of breeding longtails.”


How long is long? Defining the longtail

ACCORDING to the BS Guidelines for judges and exhibitors: longflights/longtails (see The Budgerigar, July/Aug 2015 issue), the ideal length of an exhibition budgie is “a minimum 216mm (81/2in) from the crown of the head to the tip of the tail.” The tail is to be straight and tight with two primary tail feathers – it “represents approximately 35 per cent of the bird’s overall length from tip of wings to tip of tail and no matter how long the bird is, the tail should remain in that proportion.” In a key phrase, the guideline stresses that: “Balance and style should be taken into consideration.”
It continues: “It is important to consider size, shape, balance and deportment of the whole bird when looking at the tail and not just looking at the tail in isolation and measuring the tail from the perch to floor of the show cage. These birds… MUST be disqualified.”

More information

THE Western Premier Specialist & Rare Variety Budgerigar Show takes place on September 15 at Claverton Down Community Hall, Bath BA2 6DT. Show contacts: Dave Guppy (07504 993 583) or Bob Allen (01454 898 644).

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