Delicate Colorations and Regional Names at Berlin Tumblers

At the beginning of the organized fancy pigeon breeding there were regionally very different names for individual pigeon colors, some of which are still familiar today. In some colors, the designation has changed over time. Some color terms are also ambiguous and apply to genetically different types.

Bunte (pieds) = magpies

In the Berlin tumbler breeds one called in the old literature like Schachtzabel 1910, Klein 1920 and the Book of Pigeon Standards from 1926 the magpies of the ‘Berliner Lange’ (Berlin Long Beaked Tumblers), Bunte '. The name ‘Bunte’ for magpies is also common in the fancy today. The magpies do not breed true and split up into magpies, colored with white flights and bull eyed whites. The colored with white wings are called ‘Schwingige’ what simple means ‘white flights = white ‘Schwingen’.  


Fig. 1: Cover of the monograph of Erich Klein on Berlin Tumblers from 1920 and Berlin Long Beaked Tumbler blue magpie (in Berlin called Bunte)

Dark blue and bright blue

In the color 'Blaubunte' of the ‘Berlin Lange’ (blue magpies), there was formerly the addition 'dark blue' to describe better the color. Since 1954, the addition has been replaced by 'dark steel blue'. For the Berlin Long-Muffed Tumbler with the magpie pied marking, which was also called 'Vogtländer', there were in the Standard from 1926 only ‘blue’ listed without another distinction. In the Standard of 1954 a distinction is made between a lighter and a dark blue. Blue should have a dark blue steel, the light blue a very delicate ice color.


Fig. 2: Berlin Long Muffed White Tail Tumbler at Erich Klein (1920), Berlin Long Muffed bright blue magpie tumbler at the German National Pigeon Show Leipzig 2017

The reference to the ice color is misleading and may be explained by the lack of knowledge at that time. Ice is a different color, namely of the ice-colored Polish Long-Beaked Tumbler, genetically the genetic factor ice. Also to speak of 'light blue' is misleading, because the term is used  in other breeds, such as the Field Color Pigeons, for the class of blue Dominant Opal. In the Standard of 2002 is no longer spoken of the "soft ice color", but for the lighter variety correctly from uniformly bright blue in contrast to the uniform dark blue.

Silver listed in some standards to be synonymous with ice color

In the Standard of 2002, at Berlin Long Muffed Tumbler also the coloration 'silver' is listed though they seem not to exist in reality. Silver is to be understood as 'ice colored'. From the Standard it is, as well as in the German Long-Beaked Tumbler, in which, silver 'without description also appears, not recognizable. Where the term 'silver' comes from in the Berlin breeds becomes obvious from Erich Klein. In his monograph on the Berlin Tumblers (1920), he does not understand the bright blue magpies as an independent color class with a bright blue (p. 45). He erroneously considered them as yet not ideally colored ice as in the color of Galizier ‘Silver Magpies’. That was the name of the today Polish Long-Beaked Ice Magpie Tumblers (Galizier Silberelstern).  


Fig. 3: Polish Long Beaked Tumbler magpie ice and magie pearl (brown ice)

At the medium-beaked tumblers of that time, the today's Berlin short beaked tumblers, ‘silver-magpies’ (Silberbunte) are stated to have existed. The silver according to Klein was so delicate that it was barely perceptible to the head and neck. They were very rare, the last pair he remembered to have seen 1904. It was shown by the exhibitor Schenck = Berlin on the show of the Cypria club. The drawing of a 'silver-colored' Berlin Short Beaked Magpie is reproduced in the ‘Illustrierte Prachtwerk’ by Schachtzabel 1910.

Fig. 4: Berlin Short Beaked Tumbler at a figure at Schachtzabel 1910. Copper, isabel magpie, blue bar, ice-colored magpie (silberbunt), red barred ash red grizzle (rotstreifig), yellow barred ash yellow grizzle (gelbstreifig) and blue bar grizzle (blaueulig)

As may be seen at the ice colored magpie color classes of some breeds sometimes last longer in the standard than in reality. However, if a color class still appears in the standard today, then it would be good if it is clearly stated what breeders and judges should imagine.

Dilute blue - Pearlescent

Dilute-blue ones used formerly to be called 'silver' and today in a direct translation 'blue-mealy' (blaufahl). In the Berlin Tumbler breeds, they are traditionally called Pearl. The name is not without problems, because the Polish Long-Beaked Tumblers also have a class called pearl, however for ice-colored on a brown-bar basis (Fig. 3 at the right).


Fig. 5: Berlin Short Beaked Tumbler pearl (dilute blue) und Berlin Long Muffed Tubler pearl magpie at the National German Pigeon Show 2017 in Leipzig

Those who want to breed ice Berlin Tumblers in the color of Polish Long Beaked Tumblers do not improve the color of light blues or pearls but breeds another coloration. After crosses it is sometimes hard to decide at the cages of Berlin Tumblers as well as at Polish Long Beaked Tumblers whether genetically ice brown-bar or dilute blue.

Khaki-bars – Isabel

In the Berlin tumbler breeds dilute brown bars (khaki bars) are called Isabel. Klein describes the color as a very delicate, fragrant cream, in the selfs with yellow-brown bars (p. 26, 45).


Fig. 6: Berlin Short Beaked Tumbler isabel und Berlin Long Muffed Tumbler isabel magpie

Genetically, they differ from the Isabel of Saxon and Brunner pouters who are Dominant Opal. Prütz describes those as an intermediate of yellow and red, "while so light and pale that it only appears as if touched" and the white bars are barely recognizable.


Klein, Erich, Berliner Tümmler, Chemnitz 1920.

Schachtzabel, Illustriertes Prachtwerk sämtlicher Tauben-Rassen. Würzburg 1910.

Sell, Axel, Pigeon Genetics. Applied Genetics in the Domestic Pigeon, Achim 2012.

Sell, Axel und Jana, Taubenfärbungen, Colourations in the Domestic Pigeon, Reutlingen 2005