Search for the Roots - Oriental Owls Satinettes and Blondinettes

First imports of Satinettes from Smyrna to England about 1855

It is undisputed that the Oriental Owls were introduced to other countries from Asia Minor. The Greek Caridia, originating from Smyrna (today Izmir), had a great merit at the introduction to England. According to Lyell (1892) that was around 1865. For sure earlier, since in December 1864 a fancier H. Noye wrote in the Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener that he imported the breed and successfully exhibited his pigeon the last two years in almost every show in England. Probably even about 10 years earlier, since Ludlow in his breed review in the same Journal September 1871 wrote of imports “sixteen years ago”, thus about 1855. That fits with information that Machin, former president of the English Oriental Frill Club and known to Caridia in person gave in his monograph of 1919. Caridia himself, who presents the race in detail in the ‘Fulton’ 1876, does not give an exact date. The names of the color classes such as bluettes and silverettes come from English breeders, as well as the names Satinette (the specific pied marking) and Blondinette for the two main groups.


Fig. 1: Pigeon Breeds from the Orient at Fulton 1876. Oriental Owls Blondinettes, Turbiteens and black Capuchines and Damascenes. Source: ‚Taubenrassen. Entstehung, Herkunft, Verwandtschaften, Achim 2009‘

Creation of Blondinettes in Asia about 1850

Both groups were created in the Orient. Statements that Blondinettes have no oriental origin, but originated in England, are wrong. However, Satinettes have a longer history. Blondinettes, on the other hand, were created at the time, when Caridia was still living in his native country. Wright (1879, p. 177) dates it with 1850. Caridia even was involved in the process to create them: “About twenty-four years ago one of the principal Oriental fanciers conceived the idea of breeding, if possible, every variety they possessed with the grouse-muffs of the Satinettes. He commenced first with the Owl tribe, and he succeeded in breeding from a cross of a silver Owls and a Satinette a blue Owl with partially feathered legs. He then mated this blue Owls with a Satinette hen, and this cross produced the first Blondinette, which I succeeded in obtaining from him… This proved a cock bird, and soon after I met with a similarly bred hen, as nearly like the cock as possible, bred by a Turkish fancier, which I procured, and mated to the cock I had; but before these birds began to breed, I departed for America, where after a year, I received the information that my stock was in the hands of the old Presbyter I alluded to previously. Under his care their cultivation commenced, but very soon it spread, and became the principle aim of every fancier…” (Caridia at Fulton 1876, p. 313). If the statement at Levi (1969) is correct, that the text from Caridia for the ‘Fulton’ was still written in 1874, the first crosses to develop Blondinettes indeed were done in 1850, as written by Wright.

Fig. 2: Oriental Owl Satinette shortly after the introduction to England, and Blondinette dun-laced at Machin 1919. Sources: Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener, September 1871, Machin 1919.

Import of Blondinettes to England about 1870

At Machin, the story to create Blondinettes reads as follows:

“The Satinette then being firmly fixed, these Eastern fanciers turned their attention to producing other varieties of the Oriental Frill family, the Satinette playing a very important part in their production. Thus some fifteen years after the introduction of the Satinette we were introduced to the charming Blondinette.” Probably about 1870 since Blondinettes as a variant are briefly mentioned by Ludlow in his review 1871 and a Blondinette was mentioned in a show report in the 1872 issue of the ‚Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener‘ on the exhibition in ‚Sedgefield‘. Impressive the graceful image of a Satinette 1871 by Ludlow and the color plates of Satinettes and Blondinettes by him in the ‘Fulton’ 1876. Photos of early Satinettes and Blondinettes can be found in Machin's monograph from 1919.

Fig. 3: Modern Satinettes (left and in the middle) and Old Oriental Owls Satinette (right). Source: Sell, Pigeon Genetics. Applied Genetics in the Domestic Pigeon, Achim 2012

Fig. 4: Old Oriental Owls Blondinettes. Source: Sell, Taubenzucht. Möglichkeiten und Grenzen züchterischer Gestaltung, Achim 2019

Back to the Roots? Modern and Old Oriental Owls

A look at the pictures of the historical images and today shows that from the phenotype today's Old-Oriental Owls are not mistaken in their name. For those who are interested in the evolutionary lines of breeds, a look into the historical literature may be useful. Too easily wrong statement done without background knowledge are taken from others as proven truths.


Assmus, W., and W. Hegemann (eds.), Mövchentauben international, Reutlingen 1979.

Fulton, R., The Illustrated Book of Pigeons. London, Paris, New York and Melbourne 1876.

Levi, W., The Pigeon, Sumter S.C., reprinted 1969.

Ludlow, J.W., The Satinette, Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener, September 1871

Lyell, James C., Pigeon-Keeping for Amateurs, London 1892.

Machin, F., Gems of the Orient, Birmingham 1919.

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

Sell, Axel, Taubenrassen, Entstehung, Herkunft, Verwandtschaften. Faszination Tauben über die Jahrhunderte, Achim 2009.

Sell, Axel, Taubenzucht. Möglichkeiten und Grenzen züchterischer Gestaltung, Achim 2019.

Wright, Lewis, Practical Pigeon Keeper, London, Paris & Melbourne (1879).