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The Rare Variety - Crests

by Grant Finlay

Grant Findlay

CRESTS - Like them or hate them, there are many in both camps. They are here to stay!

Of all the `Rare Varieties' the Crest is the most ridiculed - perhaps because of the size of the birds in general or the feather disturbance on the head which some say spoils the shape of the bird. However, Crest breeders are very dedicated together with being thick skinned and it must be said that without this dedication the Crest like many other rare varieties would have disappeared into oblivion and this would be a tragedy not only for this generation of bird keepers but also the generation to follow.

Crests have been around for some 70 years but it is only in the last 20 years or so that they have gained in popularity and recognition of the variety was received from the BS through separate classes being allocated at Open Shows.

The variety is popular throughout the country and is quite strong in the Lancs Chesshire area through the good efforts of a small band of fanciers who have bred and exhibited Crests and also sold their surplus stock locally and further afield in an effort to encourage others to take up the challenge of breeding Crests. Four members spring to mind - Ian Paton, Steve Thomas, Dave Cottrell, Joan & John Chell who have all had excellent success on the showbench with Crests.

Crest  Crest  Crest

The Crested variety is made up of 3 types of Crest which are described below:


This variety is similar to the cockatiel type of crest and varies in size from a few disturbed head feathers to the preferred strong upright tuft of 3/8".

HALF CIRCULAR or fringe type of Crest:

This usually consists of a half-ring of raised feathers around the front of the head with the back head feathers lying flat as normal.


As its name implies, the Crest goes all around the head.

Breeding crests can be a complicated business! The offspring which do not show a visual Crest may be split for Crest (Crest-bred) or may be a normal (non-Crest) budgie. These non-visual birds require to be test mated to establish if they carry the crested gene as those found to be split for crest are obviously valuable in the breeding room so therefore it can be a long and complicated process.

Any of the 3 types of Crest described above can be paired together or paired with Crest bred or with
Normal type budgies and any one type of Crest can breed any of the 3 types and sometimes this can occur in the same nest. Most breeders usually pair a visual crest to either a Normal or Crest bred in an effort to increase the size of any crested offspring. Pairing 2 visual Crests together has both its advantage and disadvantage - the youngsters will generally be smaller than the parents. However, the birds will carry a stronger Crested gene. The reverse is the result from pairing a visual Crest to a normal budgie.

Some of the most famous budgie breeders in the country have taken up the challenge of breeding Crests including the great Harry Bryan and together with other Crested fanciers have made great improvements in the size of the Crested stock in this country. This has resulted in many of the winners at the top shows being the size and shape of good normal type budgies.

A specialist club caters for all Crested Breeders and Exhibitors and is called the Crested Budgerigars Club which was formed 30 years ago and is the oldest of the specialist societies still in existence. The club promotes the crested variety throughout the world and has approximately 100 members worldwide with the majority in the
U.K. A club magazine is issued twice a year to keep members in touch with all the Crest related news and events.

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