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 The "Sable" Mutation---is it a myth? Part 2

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Posts : 15
Join date : 30/11/2010

PostSubject: The "Sable" Mutation---is it a myth? Part 2   Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:41 pm

Hello to All!

Fast forward...7 years after...Part 2

As promised, I am presenting below an article on Sables by Mr. Guilherme Rocha, translated to spanish by Sergio Sánchez Martínez and translated to english to the best of my ability. For those interested, feel free to email me for the spanish version (tyleraviary@gmail.com).

Everyone is most welcome to give any comment on the said article. It would be interesting if some readers of this article could relate some of their experiences or impressions on this this article or this type of bird. Perhaps, to avoid (should there be, I hope not) any heated discussion related to this article, an initial goodwill is needed for without which there can be no understanding.



The Sable Mutation - Part 2
(A presentation of a 7-year study by Guilherme Rocha, April 2008)

In April 2003, I wrote an article entitled "The Myth of the Sable Mutation", which describes how this mutation appeared in Brazil in the aviary of Paul Richard. The article narrates the history of this breeder and was reviewed and approved by him. It described, until then unknown, how the “sable” appeared, which is characterized as being a bird of the blue series with a partial or a total loss of the black melanin on the head.

Much has been written about this “mutation” and the opinions were varied: some who are fascinated by its beauty fiercely defended it; others, had the opinion that they were F3 and F4 hybrids; and, others not wanting to have problems with the latter, bred them covertly.

I myself at a certain moment of my life had the temptation of discontinuing in the breeding of these birds because many pretentious breeders wanting to get a portion of the great demand that the Iberian Peninsula used to have, began selling questionable birds (Note: the Spanish term used (idiom): “gato por liebre”: i.e., selling false specimens and thus, buyers were short changed), distorting the results that many breeders had with these false sables which were only but poorly marked pastels, or crosses of fischeri with lilianae, with the intention of lightening the color of the head. There are those who even used computer programs that alter the colors in order to show “sables” never seen in actual, with completely white heads and without affecting the rest of the plumage of the bird of any type of alteration, contributing to the amazement of serious breeders and creating false expectations on those wanting to acquire them.

The sable mutation has almost always been associated with the dominant pied mutation and it is rare at times that we see serious photos of sables without noticing the pied factor in it. This happens because the pied mutation is associated with the loss of black melanin in the head. And here lies the crux of the matter: because the effect of the pied factor in a bird can vary between 0.1 and 99.9%, so if a bird is a little pied, it is only possible to identify it as pied by the color of the nails which are white, and on the other hand, if the degree of piedness of a bird is 99.9%, the bird turns almost white in the blue series and almost yellow in the green series. Hence, a good pied has to be between 30% to 70%, where 50% being the ideal. Furthermore, we can find pieds with different color intensities, i.e., the colors may be faded or unchanged, making the most bright and colorful pieds come from those in which the color intensity remains unchanged, thereby increasing the contrast with the white or the yellow markings so typical of this mutation.

We must also reckon with the fact that there are pieds whose chest remain fully white or yellow, while others just show some marks in the chest. Thus, the most beautiful & colorful pied that can exist is that which has a chest of a single color, with a 50% of piedness on the wings and the markings symmetrically spread as well.

There was a question that troubled me for years: if the dominant pied is so unpredictable, could one get pieds distinct from each other regardless of the degree of piedness of a breeding pair?; Is it not possible that the sable maybe in itself a pied?

After 7 years working with large numbers of pieds and sables, I came to the conclusion that the sable is a dominant pied with some special characteristics. The sable is characterized for being a dominant pied with partial or total loss of melanin in the head, and having a kind of veil over the whole body, which makes the color of the bird look faded, and depending on the degree of piedness, one considers a pied sable, when the marks of the pied factor are obvious or simply sable if the degree of piedness is very low.

This conclusion is based on the fact that for 7 years I was crossing the birds with other normal colored birds of the blue and green series, basing it from the following:

- They behave genetically like a mutation with SF and DF, with the DF having a whiter head.

- Their descendants never had signs of hybridization when crossed with good standard birds, birds being born with clear heads and the “veil” feature on the body and others normal, respecting the standards of the mutation.

- When crossing among well marked pieds of the blue series, a percentage of birds are always born with a few or no markings at all and with a white head.

- When crossing among well marked pieds of the green series, a percentage of birds are always born with few or no markings and are yellowish on the neck and back of the head.

When crossed with each other and not showing marked characteristics of dominant pied, they still get a percentage of well-marked pieds.

In all sables, after several moults, there is an increase the degree of piedness, this being visible in the increase or appearance of the markings typical of pieds, either on the wings or on the chest.

From these results, the first conclusion is that sables with a complete red head do not exist, with the loss of melanin in the heads of the birds of the green series, results show the birds have yellow on the neck and back of the head, being more pronounced or evident in the DF. The appearance of red on the neck and the back of a head (except with Lutino and DEC mutations) is a sign of hybridization. The second conclusion is that “sable” is not a hybrid but a dominant pied with certain characteristics.

I think this study proves once and for all that the sables are not hybrids, but a selection of birds with certain characteristics of an existing mutation. This is vitally important because we can now work with them conscious of the fact that we are not making mistakes that could be detrimental to the genetic heritage of the fischeri and opens a door of opportunity to raise one of the most beautiful of mutations in the fischeri, which is the dominant pied in two varieties:

● Well marked pieds can be sable or not.

● Pieds in the blue series with little or without any type of mark, but with completely white head is called sables now-a-days.

I hope this article helps those wishing to breed these beautiful birds, learning to identify the characteristics that a sable must have, as well as preventing many breeders to fall into the mistake of buying something false (i.e., not the real thing). For it to be sable, it is not enough to have a white head, especially if the bird is a pastel. It is necessary that the bird has white nails, and if not pastel, it must have a slight fading in color of the bird, becoming clearer. It is said that the bird is covered by a thin veil.

Guilherme Rocha
April 2008
(original article in Portuguese)

Translated into Spanish by Sergio Sánchez Martínez
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PostSubject: Re: The "Sable" Mutation---is it a myth? Part 2   Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:59 pm

My friend Tyler

Thank you very much for sharing this wonderful article on sables, and even translating it to english. You are a Blessing. I am hoping ill be able to breed the beautiful sables i got from you. See you soon amigo. Tc Smile
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PostSubject: The "Sable" Mutation---is it a myth? Part 2   Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:04 am

chicky wrote:
My friend Tyler

Thank you very much for sharing this wonderful article on sables, and even translating it to english. You are a Blessing. I am hoping ill be able to breed the beautiful sables i got from you. See you soon amigo. Tc Smile

Hi Chicky!

A pleasure! Sorry for late response. I was out of town for a few days. I will try to post more things for the group that would...hopefully be useful.

Just a post script: The issue on "Sables" finished when Mr. Rocha discovered that Paul Richard (a very close friend of him and the one who presented "Sable" mutation) was not sincere with him, and dominant whites were only a fantasy (see Part I of this article, DEC white = claiming it as dominant as far as mode of inheritance is concerned and not as what we know now as recessive in terms of inheritance) and that "Sables" are just poorly marked dominant pieds not conforming with the internationally set standards for a given species.

Anyway, in reality, "Sables" have long been part of our lives as shown by a good number of our lovebird breeders who still like to keep and breed them and in addition, the level of acceptance for this phenotype is still high in spite of the fact that: (1) it is not a mutation but merely a selection; and (2) that they do not conform with the standard established for A. fischeri in international mileu.

Best regards,

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