"Where are we going?"
asks Didier Mervilde
The Clearbody that I refer to in this article is the Texas Clearbody and not the Easley Clearbody. I have read that it would be very difficult to breed the Easley to a good standard. I do not agree with that statement because the problem is not in breeding the bird to the standard but in obtaining the mutation in the first place. There are more studs who have the Texas and a lot lesser who have the Easley. In my opinion it is easier to develop a dominant variety than a sex-linked one.
As a breeder of Budgerigars my interests have always been with the "Rares" but because there is no market for these varieties, fanciers like myself are not considered to be top breeders. However, breeders of the Rares know a great deal about how to obtain all the desirable characteristics of a show bird as well as variety and colour. Without such breeders the mainstream breeder would not have colours other than green in his stud. Even so, to be successful you need to have some good Normals and the support of the Judges but this has not deterred me and many others like me.
A good and a bad Clearbody
Looking at the Texas Clearbody of today I noticed that we have two types. First there is the clean body-coloured bird, which has few of the exhibition qualities in profile and there is the show bird with its colour tinged body shades and washed-out or dark wing markings.
The main faults in this variety are central cap flecking, poor body colour and poor wing markings. Flecked birds must be removed from the Clearbody stud as this is the same fault as in the Normal varieties, except perhaps it looks even worse on the Clearbody. Body and wing colour is different because the choice has to made by the fancier and the judges. To help this a standard is needed and perhaps this may be an opportunity for the WBO to instigate a national standard for the Clearbody, based upon the experiences of breeders from around the world.
I have seen Clearbodies at shows in England and Germany but those with pure yellow or white bodies are not as large as the more coloured birds. Perhaps this is to be expected, as the breeders who are putting the "coloured" birds on the bench are also the "Normal" budgerigar breeders. My concern is that in a few years we will have to deal with the same problems as we have with Spangles; no variety markings at all and a mutation nearly lost.
To obtain a good Clearbody you have to put the genetic building bricks together. This is the long method but in the end the result will be well worth it. In my stud I am breeding with red-eyes and Normal lines. In the second generation I put the families back together and produced a bird with format and the correct colour. I also asked myself, can we breed Clearbodies into other colours to good effect? I didnt know so I tried.
Firstly I paired Clearbody to Grey-wing and then Yellows. The result was a yellow bird with pale clear markings; not a successful colour. A friend tried putting Dominant Pieds to Clearbody, the result was a pied bird with wing markings, which are between normal and the real Clearbody wings. My view is that we have to be careful with this mutation and should only focus on Normal and Opaline Clearbodies. Only the future will tell us if we have to introduce other mutations such as cinnamon, Yellowfaces and perhaps others.
Advice to Beginners with Clear-bodies would be to start with good Normals and red-eyes and put these two varieties to Clearbodies as I have done in the past. Because of the lovely colour of the Clear-bodies it will be possible to win a show in the future and this would be the result of the efforts of the rare breeders who work year after year to obtain Champion birds and to put some colour into the hobby.
© Didier Mervilde
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