by Marcia Halbert
There are a number of different
mutations of budgies that are not often seen, such as Spangles, Feather Dusters and Half-Siders. A brief description of each follows.
are a relatively new mutation in which the markings that would be black on the back, wings and spots of a normal bird are completely reversed on a Spangle and become light markings. Throat spots on a Spangle have a light spot in the center as opposed to the black spots of a normal bird. Similarly, a wing feather from a Spangle would be either white or yellow - depending on whether the bird was from the blue or green series - with a black edge, while a normal bird would have a black feather edged in white or yellow. Spangles exhibit either partial or complete dominance, depending on whether or not they have one factor for Spangle or two, but a bird cannot be split Spangle. They are quite striking in appearance, can be bred in all colors and varieties, and are quite prolific.
Feather Dusters are a rare mutation produced solely at random. These birds are huge compared to other budgies and have abnormally growing, very long feathers. As the name implies they do look rather like the feather dusters used for dusting furniture. They must eat constantly to try and supply their bodies with the nutrients they need because of the heavy demand put on them by the constant feather growth. They generally don't live more than a few months, cannot fly, and are usually blind. They are also thought to be deaf and retarded, and may even be afflicted with what is known in humans as Down's Syndrome.
Half-Siders are also a randomly occurring rare mutation in which the bird is
split right down the middle with each half representing a different color or
variety. One side may be blue and one half green, one half normal and the other
half pied, etc. When one of these is at a show, you can tell exactly where it is
in the room because of all of the people standing in front of the cage doing
double takes. As they say, you have to see it to believe it. Quarter-Siders, in
which only one quarter of the body is affected, also occur.