Appreciation And Progression Of The Ideal Budgerigar

I’ll attempt an artistic interpretation of the budgerigar, a beautiful grass-parakee. It has evolved beyond all expectations in the previous 10 years to become the spectacular huge bird we know today. Some aspects, such as a rise in illness and an earlier death, have occurred along with the positive advancement.

Ideal has Moved with the Times

The ideal has altered numerous times since the early 1930s, when serious budgerigar displaying started. Prior to 1980, many exhibition budgies were either photographed or seen by the exhibitor. The late R A Vowles, a renowned 1970s bird illustrator, could envision the birds of the future. Cage and Aviary Birds included several of his great black-and-white illustrations. This weekly publication provided readers with the opportunity to see Vowles illustrate a variety of perspectives of the exhibition budgerigar. Fanciers may observe the evolution of the exhibition Budgerigar via his eyes.
In terms of the show bench, one individual advanced the budgerigar more than any other. Like Vowles, the late Harry Bryan could look beyond the budgerigar of the day to the budgerigar of the future. His countless triumphs attest to this. He became a role model for other fanciers.

Pictorial Ideal

To help exhibitors, the Budgerigar Society published a visual concept, which was utilized until the late 1970s. However, by the late 1970s, birds with higher head-quality had surpassed the ideal. As a result, an update to the standard was requested. I had the honor of painting a new standard for the show budgerigar in 1980/81, which is still in use today. The exhibitor is provided a more precise standard to measure by by presenting a side and three-quarter view.
A simple activity that we can all do is to compare our birds to the Ideal. Place the Ideal picture, as printed by the BS, in a display cage. Contrast the Ideal with the subject bird. It is apparent that the Ideal bird is a huge and proportionate bird.

A three-dimensional item, such as a budgerigar, is difficult to see in two dimensions. As a result, we have ideal bird models, artistic interpretations of ideal birds, and genuine birds in exhibition cages. Nonetheless, everyone perceives things differently.


The majority of winning birds should have high head quality. One of the most challenging aspects of breeding an exhibition budgerigar is the skull structure. When we look at the breadth of the bird’s face, it needs to be proportional to the height above the cere. Getting a complete backskull is a difficult process. Too many birds lack a backskull, which is a very unattractive trait in an exhibition bird. How many champions do you see who excel in backskull? Mr. and Mrs. Newman’s Grey-Green cock, which won the National in 1994, was one, but many others are not. The bird must also wear a thick mask with huge markings. A shallow mask is a serious flaw that must be avoided at all costs.


The wings of a bird must rest perfectly on the base of the tail. Crossed or fallen wings are also major flaws. Because both are inherited, animals with these flaws should be removed from breeding stock. The standard wing markings are a distinguishing characteristic of the exhibition budgerigar. Many color flaws have arisen on wings as a result of the use of Opalines. A regular Light Green, for example, might sometimes display green on the shell markings, which should be yellow. Opalescent markings may also be seen on the Normal bird’s shoulders, throat, and wing butts.


In the tail, there are two major flaws. Another significant flaw that cannot be repaired is a drooping or vertical tail. The proper tail angle should be 60 degrees through the eye. The second flaw is a too long tail, which is commonly linked with long-flying birds. It is overly lengthy if the length of the tail exceeds the length of the body.

Style & Stance

A winning bird must have flair and posture in order to be successful on the show bench. Style is normally inherited, although posture may be taught by educating the bird from a young age.


Not everything that has transpired has been positive. As an example, consider the Opaline. Why hasn’t an Opaline civilization been formed? Many of the new kinds are self-sufficient. I’ve read writings on Opalines by Ray Steele and the late Vic Smith during the past several years. I agree with both of them. We’re annihilating Opaline. We are not gazing at the appropriate part of the bird. We should look at it as a whole bird.
Do we actually attempt to clear the saddle anymore? We call birds Opalines, yet they are not true Opalines. Dirty-back Opalines, as well as head flecking, are becoming increasingly common. The color of the wings should match the color of the body. Another Opaline feature is the white or yellow leading edge on the flight, depending on the color of the bird. The thumbmarks on the wings of the Opaline were formerly present. In an attempt to eliminate them, the color has been removed in certain instances, forcing the wings to revert to normal wing markings. “Do we need an Opaline organization to preserve and promote Opaline interests?” I ask again.


It is critical to examine colors. The cheek patch may indicate whether a bird is light, dark, or medium in color. Take care not to combine two dark cinnamons, for example. After all, cinnamon is a melanin pigment, therefore by doubling the dark cinnamon component, you are increasing the melanin and increasing the possibility of flecking.


It is hard to appreciate a bird without seeing its form. Examine the bird’s outline to see what may be done to enhance it. The beak should be tucked in, the mask should be deep, the backline and tail should be at the proper angle, and the wings should be well-positioned. The head shape should show strong frontal rise and lots of backskull. The outline is reminiscent of a beer glass. You must then populate it with the variety’s material, such as that necessary for a decent Opaline, Normal, or more specialized variety.

The Future

People often ask me what the future holds for the budgerigar. Will it be a gigantic 10.5″ inactive bird? Is it going to get so enormous that it won’t be possible to perch? I’m not sure! It is all up to you, the breeders. You will shape the future. In certain aspects, we have already developed a sort of bird that does not reproduce easily, and others that are hideous to the point of becoming monstrosities. The Ideal should be out of reach, like the summit of an unconquered mountain. People claim to have bred larger birds than the Ideal. They may have, but do they correspond to the Ideal in terms of head, spot, form, and style? When you reach the end of a road and cannot proceed any farther, the only option is to turn around. There may come a point when we realize that taking a step back is the only rational choice.


This can only be accomplished via cautious selection. You can’t pluck birds out of the sky. You must confine them in exhibit cages and study them. I can’t believe you can mate all of your birds correctly in one or two days. It may take a day to choose four or five couples. Not only would I place the cock and hen in exhibition cages, but their siblings as well. I would obtain a thorough understanding of the family’s positive and negative features. My records would be at my side, fully engaged.
Choose your main breeding bird for that season. It must be long, large, and wide over the chest. Keeping too many birds is a typical mistake. Too many people maintain too many “middle-of-the-road” birds, birds that are neither excellent nor terrible but will not advance them. Be firm in your decision to choose just the finest birds. Don’t keep subpar birds.

Look at Feather – Look at Quality, Look at Colour

Be truthful, and have a clear vision of what you’re doing when you pair up.


The exhibition budgerigar Ideal might be improved graphically by depicting a bigger head and additional feather detail. This would have to be done loosely, since the preceding visual Ideals were usually clear and succinct, with a neat framework. Given that just a few hundred of the million and a half budgerigars produced each year reach the criteria, possibly changing the ideal at this time would be unwise.

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