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Maarten Heylen - Champion Breeder and Judge from Belgium.


Whenever there is a discussion on top breeders of exhibition budgerigars in Europe today one name that is always mentioned is Maarten Heylen from Belgium. One look at the partnership's birds and it is easy to see why.

Partnership Birds

I first met Maarten Heylen at the WBO Meetings in Stoke-On-Trent in England during the Budgerigar Society Convention. Maarten and Dirk Meskens were the delegates representing Belgium.

Judge Certificate

During the WBO Delegates Meeting Maarten was presented with his Judging Certification.


Aviary Visits

It was great to spend time with Maarten, Dirk, and our friend Daniel Lutolf talking birds and visiting breeders in the Stoke area including Harry Hockaday.... a meeting of some of the top budgie breeders of our day.

Recently I asked Maarten a few questions.....

What started your interest in budgerigars?

My father has been breeding birds all his life, so I think it’s in the genes.  First we were breeding Australian parrots in big flights, afterwards we had to move and didn’t have enough space for this kind of flights.  So we started looking for alternatives, and ended up with some pairs of budgerigars…

How long have you been in the hobby ?

18 years

Tell us a little about the hobby in your country:

Belgium is well known for his bird breeders (race pigeons, Canaries, Lovebirds,…) but the budgerigar hobby is not really wide spread.  The Belgian Budgerigar Society (BGC) counts around 200 members, but there are more breeders that not only specialized in exhibition budgerigars, but also breed the color budgerigar.  This is why we decided also to admit the color budgie on our National since 2013

Where did your first budgies come from?

The very first budgies were coming from the pet shop.  Later my friends William Dierickx and Bert Sempels provided me some pairs. In 2003 we went for the first time to Daniel Luetolf.

Bird Bird Lutino Bird

A few Heylen Partnership birds.

Which breeders have influenced and helped you the most? And why?

In my years as a beginner, Bert Sempels and William Dierickx guided me around and provided me the right info in order to start in the hobby.  Later Daniel became more or less my role model. In recent years Mike Ball has also influenced my view on the modern budgie.

What bloodlines are in the background of your stud today?

Vermeir, Cuyten, Lutolf

What Club & level do you show at?

We are showing in champion class at the BGC (Belgian Budgerigar Society)

How many birds do you keep going into breeding season?

We try to keep around 180 hens and 100 cocks for the whole breeding season.


At work in Maarten's Birdroom.



How many breeding cages do you use?

As we are a partnership we have 3 different locations.  At Mario Waerzeggers place we have 36 cages, at my father’s another 36 and at my place 57.  So this would make a total of 129 cages. But in our partnership the birds rotate. This means that there is always one shed where there are no birds, and maximum two sheds where the birds are breeding.

Pair Pair

A couple of pairs from the breeding cage.

What varieties do you keep?

We keep all normal varieties, lutinos and during the past 2 years recessive pieds.

What has been your best ever bird and for what reason?

A cobalt cock we bred 4 years ago. He was ahead of his time but unfortunately died before we could pair him up…

What is your best memory in the hobby?

BIS of the Belgian BS and BIS on the Dutch BS in one year (2014)

Name your 3 top budgerigar breeders

In  random order....

Mike Ball, Daniel Lutolf, Jac Cuyten and partners (JJC budgies)

If you could only show at one show, which would it be?

The BS Club Show in Doncaster.

Youngster Youngster Youngster Youngster

Youngsters showing promise.

What are the things you like most about our hobby?

Breeding is the most fun part of the hobby for me. It’s fun because it isn’t an exact science and it always remains a challenge to breed the bird that combines the right features together.  Also important for me are the friendships made trough the hobby and the social aspect.

Is there anything in budgies that really irritates you?

Sometimes the jealousy and backbiting between the breeders…

Do you have any other hobbies?

Too many…  I like to travel and work with my 2 dogs.

.. Your Occupation? What do you do other than breed budgies?

I have been working for more than 14 years in Logistics as a manager and the last 5 years as an operational director, but unfortunately the company I worked for went bankrupt and at this moment I’m looking for new career opportunities.

Check Out The Heylen Partnership Website

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At Cairo

It was an honor to judge with 2016 National Championship Show in Egypt with Maarten.

arrow** Note for Budgerigar Club Show Managers **

Maarten is now on the World Budgerigar Organisation International Judges Panel and is very much in demand. He judged the Baby & Young Bird Show in Lahore Pakistan 2015. In 2016 his assignments included The National Budgerigar Show at Aleef World Exhibition in Cairo, Egypt, The Baby Show for BCG Flanders, the VGC show, Münchener Derby... And another show in Germany. In 2017 Maarten judged the Budgerigar Association of America's Grand National in September...  .. If you are looking for a top line judge for your show Email Maarten

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