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Monday, March 5, 2007

By Blake Ma
Blake enjoys working with lovebirds and has a passion for exhibiting and breeding them

Click image to enlarge
Diary of a Show Bird
Firefly, a baby green pied lovebird, on February 22, 2007.
Diary of a Show Bird
An example of Firefly's symmetrical flight feathers.
Diary of a Show Bird
A white-faced violet pied lovebird.

The first mutation I fell in love with was pied, specifically the white-faced violet pied combination. I knew nothing about exhibiting or breeding, except saw the beauty in this one combination and had to have it and work with it. Every pied bird is unique in color and shading. Some of the most gorgeous birds I’ve ever seen are pieds.   

It wasn’t until March 2006 at an East Coast show, did I see beautiful green pieds. I realized that I had never given green pieds a chance and had solely focused on white-faced violet pieds (This is another advantage to attending shows, because many times you will see combinations and colors of birds you never even thought about trying to produce.) Also, one thing I realized early on was that my white-faced violet pieds were lacking in size. To increase the size of these birds, the first step was to breed back to the wild type, or normal green birds. From these pairings, I began to produce green pieds and green violet pieds. All of these babies will be split to white-faces. Later this year, I can then pair these birds that have a nicer size back to white-faced lovbirds to produce better-quality white-faced violet pieds.   

Some pieds are heavily pied with a lot of yellow, and some are lightly pied with just a touch of yellow. Birds with even one pink toenail are considered pied, because they could produce birds that are heavily pied. When exhibiting pied lovebirds, symmetry is of the utmost importance. For example, if all the flight feathers on the left side are white, then all the flight feathers on the right side should be white as well. Symmetry is not easy to achieve. If there is a splash of yellow on the left side of the bird, then it should be on the right side as well. Oftentimes pieds have a couple of dark flights and a couple of light flights.

Having a symmetrical pied bird does not necessarily mean a bird is good or bad, it’s just the standard that has been set for pied lovebirds by the African Lovebird Society when exhibiting. An unsymmetrical lightly pied bird could produce a heavily pied bird just as a symmetrical, heavily pied bird could. One interesting thing I’ve found when working with pieds is that pairs that can produce heavily pied, symmetrical birds, are more likely able to produce heavily pied, symmetrical birds. I have quite a few pairs that can produce pied birds. One of my pairs produced two heavily green pied violets and, this year, a beautiful green pied baby (shown.) This baby not only has symmetrical white flight feathers, but is heavily pied and very stunning. I decided to name this baby, Firefly. What a fitting name as its yellow colors fly out as if painting a portrait on fire. 

One thing that’s looked down upon in terms of exhibiting is breeding pied to the Ino mutation, because it will break the forehead line in the bird when these two mutations are combined together. The Ino mutation is already a yellow color, so the pied cannot be seen except by looking at the jagged forehead line.  

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Reader Comments
stephanie, no smithfield, RI
Posted: 12/24/2011 6:24:41 AM
such a pretty baby!
Brittany, Gaithersburg, MD
Posted: 4/18/2007 8:51:08 PM
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