Color Standards for Judging the Spangle Variety

The magnificent “Bible,” the Colour Standards, was first published by the Budgerigar Society (B.S.) in March of 1994. This modernized version introduced a number of novel improvements, the most notable of which were a revised scoring system for the Scale of Points and the British written standard for the Spangle Variety.

The Budgerigar Society has come to the conclusion, based on considerations of both wisdom and merit, that the “variety marking” of the Budgerigar should have a higher priority than the size of the bird alone. Because if there was only one factor to take into account, like size, then there would be no use in having a classification for shows that accommodates for 18 various color groupings. Taking this argument to its logical conclusion, we could only have four classes (Any Age cock & hen and Young Bird cock & hen). Indeed, this is an extreme example, and it is also very ridiculous.

The new Scale of Points is still directed toward the size of the bird (60 points as opposed to 65 points in the old standard), but what the B.S. is asking us now is to look more attentively at the variety marking of the bird, which has 25 points allotted to it. The former standard was 65 points.

Although the Points scale is not the foundation of our judging methodology, we do utilize it as a tool to help us arrive at a conclusion and determine winners.

We, the Budgerigar Society Panel Judges, have been entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding these Color Standards, which have been outlined for us by the Budgerigar Society. It is imperative that we uphold these Standards. Should we even bother!!

Therefore, let us now study the many aspects of the Spangle and investigate the Guidelines that the B.S. has requested that we adhere to in order to determine whether or not we ought to diverge from them. Let’s start out by thinking about the Normal Single Factor Spangle.


According to the Bible, the spots should have the following characteristics: “six equally spaced huge circular black throat dots with yellow (or white) centers.”

In the B.S. Guidelines to Judges and Exhibitors, it is stated that departures from the Standard, such as incomplete or missing throat spots, should be penalized.

Over the course of our history, we have witnessed a great number of Spangles who were spotless yet still managed to win their Challenge Certificates (CC), significant specialties, and even the Best in Show title. It is highly likely that some of those of us gathered here today have participated in making judgments of this kind.

Naturally, people who have reached such conclusions will be part of the school of thinking held by many others, according to which size is the only factor that should be considered when evaluating a bird. Shouldn’t the 25 points that are awarded for variety be considered in this case? Would you ever take into consideration awarding a C.C. or a significant prize to a bird that did not have spots even if it was a really top-class super Green or Blue? It doesn’t seem likely to me. The question then is why some of us do not follow the same line of reasoning when it comes to Spangles.

You may also make the case that spangles with spots that are solid black are not complete in terms of the spot description required by our Standards or even the type of spots that are typical of spangles; specifically, I am referring to the type of spots that look like a pair of brackets.


Again, the Bible instructs us that the wing markings should be “each feather buttercup yellow (or white) edged with black plus a further buttercup yellow (or white) edge.” This time, the Bible refers to the wing markings as “each feather buttercup yellow (or white) edged with black plus a further butter According to the Guidelines, we are supposed to give a lower score to Spangles whose wing feathers are made up entirely of black feathers.

If we use the Standards and the 25 points for various marks in the Scale of Points, then we should deduct points from Spangles, regardless of their quality, if they have only a faint marking on their wings.

Another issue that we are seeing with certain Spangles is the fact that they have a Dominant Pied head patch. Unfortunately, the Colour Standards does not make any room for history, despite the fact that history tells us that Pieds were involved in the development of the Spangle. Therefore, should Spangles with head patches be awarded first place on the show bench due to the quality of the bird?

I am aware that we judges encounter challenges on a regular basis, and judging Spangles can be one such challenge. If we prioritize diversity marks over size and shape, we will be accused of lacking an appreciation for a well-bred budgerigar. In spite of this, even if we favored size and shape over diversity markings, as the vast majority, if not all of us do, we would still be criticized for not being aware of what a good Spangle is.

Another challenge that breeders of the Spangle face is the possibility that a bird that has a good Spangle pattern when it is young may lose some of that pattern’s black sharpness as it matures and goes through its several moults.

Let us now analyze the Double Factor Spangle, of which there have been some really outstanding examples that have been awarded “best in show” honors at prestigious exhibits.

According to the standards, the bird must be “free from any unusual green feathers or green suffusion, which is the ideal although a tiny collar of color round the neck is permissible.” This is the ideal condition. The same logic, of course, can be applied to the Blue series, specifically the Double Factor Spangle White.

The defects in Double Factor Spangles are emphasized even further in the Guidelines, which state that “Any black or grizzled ticking apparent anywhere on the bird or green, blue, or grey suffusion should be penalized.”

Some judges as well as exhibitors have made comments over the years on how you can judge a Single Factor Spangle, which is a bird with body color and marking, in comparison to a Double Factor Spangle, which is a bird without any marking.

Can I ask you, ladies and gentlemen, how you decide which animal is the best in show out of a line-up of 18 distinct color groups? And how do you decide which animal is the finest in section out of twice as many? Even though it may be happening subconsciously, you are consistently utilizing the written words of each type in conjunction with the scale of points.

It is important to keep in mind that the color difference between a Double Factor Spangle and a Dark-eyed Clear may be seen in the eye, the cere, and the beak of the cock, but only in the eye and the beak of the hen. This is an easy way to detect the difference between the two.

Opaline & Cinnamons Spangles

There is a notation contained within the Spangle Colour Standards that informs us that Spangles can be mixed with any other kind, with the exception of the Dark-eyed Clear. The Opaline and Cinnamon forms of the Spangle breed are the ones that we see on the show bench the most frequently.

In the Opaline Spangle, the opalescent look is achieved by symmetrically shaping the black edge on each feather and placing it on a base that is the same color as the body of the bird. This is the effect that the opaline has on the spangle; hence, you should not punish opaline spangles because you favor normal spangles.

Because of the Cinnamon Spangles, every instance of the word “black” that appears in the Standards has been changed to “cinnamon brown.”

When it comes to Cinnamon Spangles, on the other hand, we still need to notice the well-defined cinnamon brown in the spots as well as the wing marking.

If the wing marking and the spots on some Cinnamon Spangles grow so weak that the marking can hardly be seen, then there is another scenario in which you can factor the 25 points variety marks into the equation. In this situation, the markings will look like this:

Although you should make an effort not to penalize Spangles that are highly marked Opalines or Cinnamons and instead handle them in the same manner as you do with Normal Spangles, you should of course penalize them if they are poorly marked.

Some of the Cinnamon Spangles that we see on the show bench have crystal clear wings, and our Clearwing breeders would give anything to have wings like that on their Clearwings. Do not dismiss this problem simply by pointing out that the cinnamons have it. Even if they are cinnamons, they nevertheless have to stick to the cinnamon marking on their packaging.

The British Standards Institution has penned a Provisional Standard for the Opaline and Cinnamon Spangles, which, if all goes according to plan, will be published in due course.

Keep in mind the sequence of precedence that has been established by the B.S., since all spangles are required to be shown in the spangle classes, with the exception of the crested spangle, which is required to be shown in the crested classes.

My discussion on the Spangle variety will be based on the BS Standards, and it will be up to you to ensure that these standards are maintained. I am grateful.

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