Grizzles and Owlish at
feature of Berlin Tumblers and some other breeds such as the German
Long-Beaked Tumblers and Stettin Tumblers is the term owl-like or
owlish for grizzles. Owlish, however, differ phenotypical in details
from typical grizzle. The individual feathers in the shield are
somewhat edged or laced, without being scaly or flaming, as Eugen
Heyger = Berlin wrote in the anthology of Lavalle and Lietze 1905
(Fig. 1, 2). According to the Standard they are ‘peppery with a
lighter or darker border, however without giving the impression of a
Fig. 1: Berlin Long Muffed Tumbler
white tail Blue Owl at Lavalle and Lietze (1905), German Long Beaked
Tumbler white tail white flight blue grizzle (owlish)
similarity to owls (thus ‘eulig’ or owlish) with gray-white mixed-up
plumage increases thereby. According to Heyger, the color of the
head and neck should be the same as on the wing-covers (p. 342). As
with the Prague 'Owls', from which the color was transferred, there
are gradations in the color between darker and lighter owlish. At
Stettin Tumblers – also related to Prague Tumblers - Schachtzabel
1910 in a first unofficial German Book of Pigeon Standards,
distinguished between light and dark owlish, and in addition between
white-breasted and others (Fig. 6, 7). For the differences to
grizzles based on the wild type, modifiers that have not been
investigated in detail until now are likely to be responsible. Dirty
makes a difference too and underlines the owlish impression.
whitish frame in the shield also appears in non-grizzles as was
noted by Graham Manning from Australia for blue bar racing homers.
The whitish frame was also shown in some bluish rubella bar homers.
In other breeds, sooty, central patches in the shield feathers and
also checks in combination with grizzle produce owlish effects as
well (Fig. 5).
Fig. 2: Berlin Short Beaked
Tumbler Blue and Blue Owlish
Just as blue
bars become blue-owls by grizzle and the additional modifiers (Fig.
2), pearled individuals become 'pearl-owlish' (Fig. 3).
Fig. 3: Berlin Short Beaked
Tumbler Pearl and Pearl Owlish
also at Berlin isabels (khaki-bars in other breeds). Those isabels
are khaki grizzles plus modifiers (Fig. 4). Due to the affinity with
the blue and pearl owlish they will possess the same modifying
factors. However, they do not appear that way because of the light
khaki basic color.
Fig. 4: Berlin Short Beaked
Tumbler Isabel and Isabel Owlish
Brown bar and
brown-bar owlish are not in the standard. However, they could easily
be created by a systematic mating of Isabels or Isabel owls with
blue bar owls. When mating the different colorations with each
other, it should be noted that the brown base color of the Isabel is
inherited sex-linked recessive. This also applies to the dilution
factor of the pearly colors and the isabels, be they owlish or not.
However, grizzle is not sex-linked (Sell, Pigeon Genetics 2012).
may be a comparative look at blue-grizzles in other breeds. So blue
grizzles at Romagnoli like other typical grizzles do not show the
edging of the feathers in the shield (Fig. 5). Owly-like sometimes
appear light checkered grizzles and also grizzle bars with the sooty
trait, a dark central spot on the individual shield feathers. That
is shown at the blue German Long-Beaked White-tailed White-Flight, a
blue grizzle Portuguese Tumbler and a blue grizzled Show Homer (Fig.
grizzle Romagnoli, German Long Beaked Tumbler blue white tail white
flight with sooty-flecks, Portuguese Tumbler grizzle with sooty
blue-grizzle Show Homer
Tumblers in the standard today both, blue owlish and blue grizzles,
are recognized side by side.
Interesting in the 1910 standard the enumeration of colors with the
differentiation of ‘owlish’ light and dark, and both white-breasted.
The today grizzles in the
standard probably were the light blue owlish in the standard from
1910 and still 1954.
6: Stettin Tumblers at Schachtzabel 1910, reprinted in Sell,
Pommersche Taubenrassen. Naturdenkmale aus Pommern – Pigeon Breeds
from Pomerania (German language with English Summary for the breeds
discussed), Achim 2010.
The presentation should have shown
that different names for color classes in pigeon breeds do not
always have to do with a regional deviating terminology only. They
occasionally indicate small differences that are genetic and the
common heritage of related breeds. If you want to understand certain
specific colors and meet them in the assessment at shows and
breeding orientation, then it is not only useful, but also
indispensable to deal with the development of the respective breeds
and historical relationships.
7: Cover of ‘Pommersche Taubenrassen’. Pigeon Breeds from Pomerania,
German language with English summary and standards for the breeds
Berliner Tümmlerrassen, Chemnitz 1920.
Lavalle, A., und
M. Lietze (eds.), Die Taubenrassen, Berlin 1905.
Illustriertes Prachtwerk sämtlicher Taubenrassen, Würzburg o.J.
Genetik der Taubenfärbungen, Achim 2015.
Sell, Axel, Pigeon Genetics. Applied Genetics in
the Domestic Pigeon, Achim 2012.
Pommersche Taubenrassen. Pigeon Breeds from Pomerania, Achim 2010.