White is not white: Recessive white in the discussion

White is not white, and that also holds to white with dark or bull eyes. Usually white with 'bull eyes' are classified together and are dealt with as recessive white. However, if we get insight into the breeding pen we realize that they differ from each other. In this presentation they differ also in the quality of the photos. The first and better one is from Layne Gardner, the second one from the author.


Berlin Short Beaked Tumbler recessive white (photo Layne Gardner) and white 'Konigsberg Tumbler' from a strain of Konigsberg Color Heads, clean-legged and muffed

The first photo is a Berlin Short Beaked Tumbler, which falls as a side-color of the Berlin Magpies. The other two whites at the right are bred from Konigsberg Color Heads, which are recognized in the German Standard as clean-legged or muffed and also as plain headed or crested.

Heterozygous Berlin Magpies

From a couple of these heterozygous magpies we regularly will get some white flighted young and some bull-eyed whites.

From the hereditary endowment of these whites from Berlin Magpies (and other breeds with this kind of magpie marking), it is possible to mate them with  white-flights to get magpies again. That is indicated in Fig. 215 of 'Pigeon Genetics'.

Heterozygous Konigsberg Color Heads

A different code is anchored in the inheritance of the white bull-eyed individuals from Konigsberg Tumblers. Two Color Heads mated with each other regularly will produce some 'rose wings' and bull-eyed whites. That is demonstrated in the photomontage at Fig. 532 in the German language book 'Genetik der Taubenfärbungen'.

The side colors mated together will produce color heads again. That is sketched in Fig. 217 of 'Pigeon Genetics'.


Breeders of Konigsberg Tumblers appreciate not only the color heads, but also the side colors and use them in the breeding pen. However, the 'rose wings' seem to be preferred for that purpose.


Konigsberg Color Head and yellow 'rose wing' at a top breeder of short beaked Tumblers

More recently, the genetics of recessive white has been puzzled again in international discussion groups. Anyone who seeks a satisfactory explanation for recessive white will have to offer a satisfactory explanation for the bull-eyed white in the different heterozygous magpies. Discussed are here heterozygous magpies and Color Heads only, there exist some more heterozygous pied markings.  A discussion is given in German language in the book 'Genetik der Taubenfärbungen' and in English language in 'Pigeon Genetics'.

Titelblatt-Endversion[1].JPG Cover Genetik der Taubenfärbungen IMG_4639.jpg


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

Axel Sell, Genetik der Taubenfärbungen, Achim 2015.

Axel Sell, Breeding and Inheritance in Pigeons, Hengersberg 1994.

Axel and Jana Sell, Vererbung bei Tauben, Reutlingen 2004, 2007.