Red and yellow mirror tails and the 'Lebanon Bronze Stencil Factor' at Joe Quinn

As intensive as in the Lebanon Pigeon, the red color and the contrast to the whitish tail band are only shown in a few other breeds, e.g. in Rshew Mirror-Tailed Tumblers and in Volga Tumblers.


Fig. 1: Red mirror-tailed Lebanon Pigeon and red mirror-tailed Volga Tumbler

Many breeders are not demanding, weak expressions occurs in dominant red pigeons even without breeding activities and  even such individuals are shown and evaluated as mirror tails.


Fig. 2: Dominant red German Beauty Homer and red  Rshew Startail-Tumbler (Source: Sell, Pigeon Genetics 2012, p. 217)

In order to achieve a simultaneous intensive red and high-contrast to the white tail band, further factors are necessary. Joe Quinn suspected a recessive factor he called 'Lebanon Bronze Stencil'. A special factor and a special naming. The factor is supposed to act as an 'enabler' and allow mirror wings and tails in the smooth spread areas to appear on dominant red pigeons. As a side effect, it is believed that the factor when transferred to black colored pigeons, such as dark check blue, expresses in a ‘tinge of bronze’ (p. 79). Trying to prove the existence of a largely invisible hereditary factor is not unexpectedly difficult.

Paul Gibson concluded from his experiments in which Dominant Red and Brander Bronze produced similar appearances as well as Ash Red T-pattern Gimpel and Rollers, even without mating with mirror-tails (p. 90), that a factor Lebanon bronze does not exist. Other bronze factors could take over the part.

Fig. 3: Dominant red Brander Bronze (Source: L.P. Gibson 1995, p. 91)

Methodologically and logically untenable. Even if the phenotype is very similar, that does not prove the claim that the factor does not exist. A parable: From the fact that we get from dilute blue-check cock x black hen also some dun, a color similar to brown, one cannot (and should not) conclude that the gene 'brown' does not exist. What is meant by Quinn is the factor that leads to a change from simple dominant red to Lebanon phenotype at the Lebanon Pigeon. Some seem to confuse the question of which factors red Lebanon mirror tails in reality have with the question of whether combinations of other genetic factors can produce a similar coloration. It is also not about the question of whether the naming of the supposed trait as ‘Lebanon Bronze Stencil’ was a good choice.

There are more reports on the genetics of the trait than most are aware of. Own already documented tests resulted e.g. in the F2 from Volga Tumbler x blue check without bronze background in 8 females with black base color and some of them with kite-like bronze tones. Thus there was a bronze factor in the tested Volga Tumbler that could be transferred to black color. None of the 23 dominant reds of the F2 showed a white tail band, the tails were ashen and not red.

Fig. 4: Result of mating Volga Tumbler cock and Blue-check hen without any broze background (Source: Sell, Pigeon Genetics 2012, S. 217)

With Gimpel bronze was also already experimented. Gibson used ash red white wings, in the own tests a hen with black base color was used.

Fig. 5: young from the F1 (upper line) und F2 from Volga-Tumbler cock and pale-blue-check hen with Gimpel-Pigeon background (Source: Sell, Genetik der Taubenfärbungen 2015)

Some of the F2 from Volga cock x Pale Blue check with Gimpel background showed intense red tails and a distinct white tail band. A sign that the Volga Tumbler shares parts of Gimpel-Pigeon traits? From both tests together the opposite follows. It is the effect of the pale blue check hen with Gimpel background in the second mating. The first cross shows that the red Volga Tumbler can have the correct coloring even without the factors of Gimpel Pigeons.

However, breeders interested in genetics should be careful with own crosses. By crossing with Gimpel and bringing the offspring into the line, the gene pool of the breed will change. In a few years, some breeders may then be able to report that they have discovered in genetic tests, or others in molecular genetic investigations, that there are Gimpel Pigeon factors in their mirror tails. Sometimes traits are found that are present by chance but not really required.


Gibson, Lester Paul, Genetics of Pigeons Columba livia (Gmelin), 1993

Quinn, Joe, The Pigeon Breeders Notebook. An Introduction to Pigeon Science, 1971.

Sell, Axel, Genetik der Taubenfärbungen, Achim 2015.

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