Colour transformation in one of my personatus
I was attending a BVA members day near my home, and whilst browsing the sales section I spotted a lovely dominant edged personatus. I was drawn to this mutation and right away I knew it was a a mutation I wanted to breed in the future. I purchased the bird, who was about 4 years old, from Guido Kempeneers - a respected personatus breeder. The bird is a SF dominant edged D green /blue and had won Gold and Groupswinner awards at the 2006 and 2007 BVA Masters show.
The bird paired with a SF violet D green hen and gave me a couple of young birds. The hen was very aggressive though, and gave the cock a hard time, not letting him enter the nestbox. The bird plucked alot of his feathers out, from around his legs and lower body. The chicks devloped fine and I still have them today. Due to the agressive nature of the hen, I seperated this couple of paired him with a lovely blue bird. The bonded well and gave me a few chicks, 2 D green and 1 blue. The bird continued to pluck the feathers a little but nowhere near as bad as before and they were growing back in. Once the nestboxes were removed the cock moulted back into full feather and looked great again! In May 2010 the birds were put into the outdoor aviaries, and this is when the colour transformation began.
I noticed the black mask on the bird had speckles of orange and the whole bird looked a little 'off- colour'. At first I though he was going through another moult, and the colours will return to normal as the new feathering comes through. There seemed to be eumelanin reduction on the mask, showing more of the underlying orange psittacin. The green body seemed lighter and the subtle yellow edging appeared more define than normal. Again, I thought nothing of it at this stage.
Only days since the previous photo and already the eumelanin reduction has progressed further. It turns out the bird was moulting. More orange psittacin was showing on the mask and there was alot more yellow feathering appearing on the mantle. I also noticed a eumelanin reduction in the feet and nails, they feet were turning a more pale colour. By this stage I am very curious and wondering what is going on. The bird is perfectly healthy as are all the other birds in the aviary.
A few weeks had passed and the development had progressed even further!
2 weeks since the last photo and the birds were bought indoors. The colour had really transformed now and the bird appeared to be well past his moult, yet the colour was still changing each day? More orange and less black, more yellow and less green! Interesting!
Less than a month later and it now looks like a different bird! More and more reduction and its still changing on a daily basis. The camera flash did alter the colours a little on some of the photos.
It's now early November, 2 months since the last photo's. The progression has gone further still, with very little green or black colour left on the bird. It was suggested the bird could be sick so that's something I will be trying to rule out. It's unlikely the bird is sick, apart from the colour loss he is in very good health. All the other birds in the aviary are also doing very well. The young birds from this autumn's breeding are also growing and developing good. My avian vet never suspected a disease, rather a genetic modification as suggested by other experts. To be sure though I will test the bird and a few others to rule this theory out. I have been monitoring the birds diet and he seems to consume a balanced diet giving him the nutrition he requires. The bird looks like he is about to start a new moult. All my other birds are moulting at the moment, or coming to the end of a moult. The lowered temperature seems to have triggered it off. It will be interesting to see how the bird looks after a moult though. I will be supplementing with various vitamins, amino acids and biotin to help the birds through the moulting process.
12th January 2011. I have just taken a small video clip of the bird using my iPhone, so excuse the quality! The bird has recently finished going through his first moult since the colour transformation began last year. It now appears that the eumelanin is returning back to the plumage. When I compare photos from a couple of months ago, there is noticably more green feathering appearing on the mantle, and more black feathers coming through on the mask. It will be interesting to see whether the bird regains it's full, original plumage. Only time will tell. I have attatched a screenshot from the video, whilst it's not very clear, you can make out the extra green feathering compared to the photos from previous months.
May 2011 and the birds colour is returning more and more each day. His feet are getting darker and his lower chest is getting the green colour back too. The photos speak for themselves really!....