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Spangles - The Early Days


Jeff Attwood

by Jeff Attwood

 I have now been involved with the Spangle mutation for some thirty years since acquiring my first specimen, a small Grey Green Spangle cock from the late Alf Ormerod during 1982. This early start just a couple of years after the first Spangles were introduced to the U.K., was supplemented in 1983 by six further Spangles acquired from the well known German breeder Reinhart Molkentein. All these birds had direct links with the first of this mutation imported into Europe from Australia in the late 70's.

An added interest was also contained in these six spangles, as one of them also carried the Australian Goldenface factor which has also led to many beautiful color variations since that time.

The mutation rapidly became a firm favorite with me and in subsequent breeding seasons I have produced many interesting examples. With my visits to Australia over the last seven years I have broadened my knowledge of the Spangle mutation and acquired an abundance of interesting information.

During my last visit I spent three weeks in the State of Victoria where the Spangle was first discovered and was able to speak with many fanciers who were directly involved with the original mutation. I also met the person who brought the Spangle to Europe, a breeder by the name of Christianson.

The first Spangles appeared in the aviary of a breeder who produced birds on the colony system. Although many definite claims have been made to the Spangle's direct ancestry, in truth it would appear that no one knows for sure. The aviary involved consisted mainly of Greywings and Recessive Pieds, and the only thing that can be definitely determined was that Greywing was involved.

The full story relayed to me was that additional stock had been purchased by the Victorian breeder from a pet shop supplier in Sydney which is in the state of New South Wales. Some time later the breeder was aware of a number of different color young birds in his flight. He invited a very well respected local breeder named Frank Gardiner to visit and view these "new" colors and it was he who determined that in fact a new mutation appeared to have occurred. I was informed that all these early Spangles were Greywings and did not of course show the distinct wing pattern we are now familiar with. It was sometime before Frank Gardiner, who had acquired a few of the new birds, did in fact produce the first named Spangles.

I was recently reading an article by an Australian fancier by the name of Andre Ozouz residing in Sydney, Australia who now specializes in the breeding of Spangles. He clearly states that the first Spangles resulted from a Greywing to Opaline Greywing mating. This may well be so judging form what I stated earlier. He has also discovered two quite separate forms of Spangles which he refers to as the Sidney Spangle and the Melbourne Spangle. The Sydney Spangle is determined by wing markings which consist of each covert and flight feather being edged with a fine black marking over the appropriate ground color. Close examination of the Melbourne Spangle shows the same ground color but there is a black line in the center of each covert which when meeting with the black marking produces an effect of an anchor shape. This type, he states, also carries its body color into its wing similar to that seen in Opalines, and has a more solid set of throat spots with a small hole towards the bottom rather than the more usually defined Spangle spots. Breeders in the state of Queensland have also reported a change in some spangles. Some birds it seems have appeared as normals in the nest feather and have developed Spangle markings during the first adult moult.

We have produced last year a further variation of the Spangle. This was a bird which showed quite clear Spangle markings on a Normal Sky Blue cock, but carries solid black spots, and lacked color pigment in the body color and also the wings, giving large patches of white, although neither part showed pied characteristics. I am sure that in the coming years we will also see further forms of the Spangle emerge.

Finally for the help of fanciers less experienced with Spangles I have set out below a table showing the genetic inheritance of the mutation based on the varieties now established, but would still suggest that the best marked Spangles can be produced from pairing Visual Spangles X Normal (bred from a Spangle pairing).

Single factor Spangle = S.F.
Double factor Spangle (a clear yellow or white bird) = D.F.

S.F. Spangle X S.F. Spangle


25% D.F. Spangles, 25% Normals, 50% S.F. Spangles

S.F. Spangles X Normals


50% S.F. Spangles, 50% Normals

D.F. Spangle X Normal


100% S.F. Spangles

D.F. Spangle X S.F. Spangle


50% D.F. Spangles, 50% S.F. Spangles

D.F. Spangle X D.F. Spangle


100% D.F. Spangles

Note: Spangles being a dominant variety, any Normals (non-Spangles) produced from any Spangle pairing are not in any form split for or carrying a Spangle gene.

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