Crested budgies (crested budgerigars) have a rich history dating back to the early 1920s when the first recorded Crested mutation was bred by Mr. Mathews of Sydney, NSW.
Image Courtesy of Rod Turnbull and the ANBC
The United Kingdom saw the arrival of the European (Continental) Crested mutation in 1938. These crested budgerigars bred from an Australian strain by Mrs. Brown of Moracambe, Lancashire. Meanwhile, a further Crested mutation was reported in Canada in 1948. The British Crested is the result of combining the Australian and European strains, which differ only in the position of the centre of the crest (or Locus). The Continental strain has the centre of the crest just above the cere. In contrast, the Australian strain has it further back to the centre of the head. Over the years, the two strains have intermingled, producing either variant.
The Standard recognizes three forms of Crested: FULL CIRCULAR, HALF CIRCULAR, and TUFTED, each with its ideal form illustrated. A large and fully feathered crest is the prominent feature, with the ‘ideal’ crest allocated a maximum of 30 points. The remaining 70 points are for Type, Colour, and Markings, according to the Scale of Points.
Crested Budgies – Types
The FULL CIRCULAR Crest, which is a recognized form of Crested budgerigar, features a complete, flat, and round crest with feathers radiating from the center of the head. This should form a neat circle around the head and be complete in feathering. The HALF CIRCULAR Crest, another recognized form, should be a forward-facing half circle of feathers, ideally 8mm in a fringe above the cere. The TUFTED Crest, also recognized, should be an upright crest of feathers, ideally 8mm high, rising from just above the center of the cere.
It’s important to note that enthusiasts consider the FULL CIRCULAR as the ideal expression of the variety, preferring it over the HALF CIRCULAR, which is in turn preferred over the TUFTED. Consider size, symmetry, and central placement of the crest as paramount features.
Crested Budgies – Developing Interest
Crested budgerigars were initially considered a curiosity by breeders. However, fanciers who appreciated their unique appearance soon made them popular. In the early years of the crested budgerigar, there were concerns about the viability of the birds. The crest formation associates with health problems such as blindness and balance issues. With careful breeding practices, breeders largely overcame these health concerns.
The Budgerigar Society in the United Kingdom recognized Crested budgerigars as a distinct variety in the 1940s. In the years since, the crested variety has become increasingly popular. Breeders aim to refine the crested feather formation and develop new color variations. Today, bird enthusiasts around the world breed crested budgerigars in a wide range of colors and enjoy them.
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