Show Budgerigars-Top Birds Excel in Head Qualities

Eric Peake


As breeders and exhibitors of Budgerigars we are constantly aware of the challenge to be one better than fellow fanciers on the show bench and in the breeding room. The difficulties encountered on the exhibition side of our hobby depend on the method of staging the birds and the quality of our stock as seen by another fancier (the judge) on the day of the show.

Whether or not we are successful breeders can be measured by our skill and the method of stock selection; skill of breeding can come through experience but having an eye for the right type of Budgerigar can play a major part in our success or downfall.

Where the selection of stock to produce better offspring is concerned, the experienced fancier can see what has to be removed and what has to be added. The beginner, however, has to build up a mental picture of what he is aiming for.

A bird excelling in head qualities has that edge over its opponents. To breed birds with better heads we must know what to look for. Most present-day head faults are due to lack of backskull and birds which are too narrow across the head when viewed from the front.

The controlling factors that govern the width and size of head depend on the skull formation; this will come through pairing together birds with well-formed skull structure. If a fancier can purchase a bird with a fair head and pair it to a partner excelling in head formation, his chances of producing birds with the desired head are increased.

If the reader has a picture of an exhibition Budgerigar to hand, he should tty covering the body of the bird with a


piece of plain paper, leaving the head showing. It will then be noticed how the head gives the impression of a bird of individual character; reverse the process and cover the head, and the bird has no significant visual qualities.

Many a good Budgerigar which wins its class on head qualities can fail to gain a premier award when its overall head and body qualities are taken into consideration. We hear fanciers talking of trying to breed a carrot-shaped Budgerigar; this may be possible in large birds, but if this shape is adopted in small to medium sized specimens, then the tapered body sryle tends to diminish the birds.

When judging a Budgerigar we must remember to see it from four different angles: front, side and left and right. Width of head is most important in a well-structured bird and this aspect can only be assessed from the front view.

The definition of the Ideal states that the eye must be central in the bird. In actual fact, the eye is positioned about 3I16 in. away from the cere.

The head is by far the most important part of the exhibition Budgerigar, but without the body conforming to the standard also, it would be relatively difficult, when judging to make the necessary comparison between size and style. Presuming that the birds we keep are of a good size, style (or type or shape) is also important.

One of the biggest problems that fanciers have encountered over the years is to produce birds with that straight back line without the presence of a hump, or bump, at the back of the neck. If we study the formation of a bird's neck and shoulder muscles we see that the


head will grow relatively more slowly than the body; consequently when in nest feather a Budgerigar will show balance, style and shape.

When the body develops, it seems to outgrow the head. A dip in the neck is caused by a large headed bird with hardly any neck structure or muscle.

If we can get a mental picture of the outline of the bird and visualize a style for which we must aim, we can then start to consider colour and variety.

The stance of the bird, while in a show cage, is most important. Many Budgerigars have the bad habit of lying across


the perch. This is possibly due to overweight, but if such a bird has no weight problem, it must be of poor shape and suffering from lack of training.

To judge only the stance of a bird is unfair, but good position gives an exhibit an advantage over others. If stance is bred into our birds it makes the training programme that much easier. Some birds possess that inborn showmanship.

I find that having the youngsters in training cages with a mature cock bird helps them to settle down and learn how to stand correctly.



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