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 The "Sable" Mutation---is it a myth?

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Posts : 15
Join date : 30/11/2010

PostSubject: The "Sable" Mutation---is it a myth?   Sun Jun 12, 2011 5:21 pm

Hello to All!

I’m presenting an interesting article about Sables.

The article below elicited a lot of debate in the BVA e-group way back in 2003. I am presenting to you the first part of a two part series. In the course of the discussion in the e-group, Mr. Rocha offered to conduct an investigation/research so as to find out if “sable” is really a true mutation or not in the white eye-ring lovebird group.

The second part will deal with the results of his research that came out 7 years after. I’m still trying to translate that article into English. Please bear with me for the meantime.

Best regards,


The “Sable” Fischer Part I
by Guilhermo Rocha (Portugal), April 2003

This mutation has caused much controversy among breeders of lovebirds, even more so, amongst experts in lovebird genetics. Almost each one of them holds his private opinion about the correct genetic classification of this mutation. Sometimes it is even stated that this is a genetic deformation (freak) which I believe to be untrue.

The phenotype is characterized by a reduction of melanin on the head only, leaving the remaining body colors unchanged. This is particularly attractive in blue series birds.

The mutation did not originate in Thailand (Pin Farm) but in Brazil. Paul Richards at the 1996 Brazilian Championship showed the first sable Fischers. He initially had bought a pair of dark-eyed whites from Mr. Henrique Santos (Portugal) at the Belgian 1994 B.V.A. Show. Mr. Santos in turn had brought these birds all the way from South Africa. The pair produced 20 chicks, which Paul Richard then set against other mutations out of the blue series. The results were surprising: all mixed pairs produced at least some dark-eyed whites. He then proceeded to set these whites against green series birds and now dark-eyed yellows cropped up. This lead to the simple conclusion that these dark-eyed clears (a collective name for both dark-eyed yellow and dark-eyed white) were produced by a dominant mutation.

The sable Fischers appeared when one of the white birds was set against an edged blue. Paul Richard promptly set up more of such pairs and all of these produced sables. The next test was: breeding sable X sable and sable X other mutations. Sable X sable produced 100 % sables with a whiter head than any of the parents possessed, practically no trace of melanin remained. Sable X other mutations: about 50 % of the resulting chicks again where sable. So it was quickly confirmed that sable also was a dominant mutation.

The appearance of sable in Europe can be traced back to the sale of a few dark-eyed white birds. Paul Richards sold a few specimens to some European breeders. The latter thought dark-eyed white was a recessive mutation and did not put them against other colors, but solely against similar birds. When at last some birds were paired up with blue partners and dark eyed whites were produced, it was assumed the blues were split for dark eyed clear. Nobody realized that dark-eyed clear might be a dominant morph.

And when these whites finally were set against edged blues it was noted that the offspring had totally lost the dark coloration on the head. These youngsters were quickly sold, not conforming to any exhibition standard. What these breeders did not know was that, should they have set these youngsters against similar ones, their chicks would have been blue birds with a pure white head and of great beauty.

Some of these first generation birds were sold abroad. In Thailand, the importer (Mr. Yathuma Imanothai) formed pairs of the birds with the clearest heads, again resulting in birds with a completely white head.

Genetically speaking, he paired S(ingle) F(actor) sable X SF sable and got DF sable.
Summary: We now have two new mutations: dark-eyed clear and sable. Both in my opinion deserve to be treated the same way other longer existing mutations do.

Guilhermo Rocha (Portugal)
April 2003
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