Light Cinnamon (W-1)

Description: The picture shows a light brown Bourke. The head is rose with a light brown undulation. The cheeks are brown undulted also. The belly and breast are light rose. The undulation is nearly visible. The wings has light brown wingcoverts margined with yellow. Rump and tail are light brown. Blue become very pale blue. The cock shows a light blue frontal band.The eyes are red. They are darkening after the first moult. Beak, legs and nails are lighter than the wildtype. Put it in a nutshell the cinnamon is a bit lighter than the wildtype. The psittacine pigments are more visible.

Name: For a long time this colour variety is called isabel in Europe. There is an important argument to change this name. The best name I could find is light cinnamon.

The name isabel is used adequately for birds how have two kinds of melanin. Phaeomelanin and eumelanin. Under the microscope the form of phaeomelanin grains is sferical, eumelanin grains have a rod like form. In 1912 Görtner found that both melanins are easy to be distinguise when soluted in natronloog. Phaeomelanin is easy solvable in a very light solution of 0,2 %. Eumelanin is difficult solvable. A solution is needed of 45%. Steiner stipulated in 1935 that parakeets have only one kind melanin, the eumelanin. Phaeomelanin we find in canaries and other bird species but never in parakeets.

The name isabel is used in birds who have both kinds of melanin. We speak about isabellism when one of the two kinds of melanin is missing by mutation. In canaries we can use the name isabel when the reduction of phaeomelanin is about 100% (Kop). In parakeets we have to find an other name. The isabel Bourke is called cinnamon. This name is a good description of the brown turquoisine, the brown splendid and other species.

But we have to be critical. Most parakeets have black eumelanin. When there is a reduction of the melanin the plumage will be brighter. But the cinnamon, brown colour of the feathers has another cause. When there is less oxidation of the melanin grains the eumelanin pigment is brown. For a cinnamon colour a mutation of the eumelanin is needed. This change from black to brown caused by a mutation that causes less oxidation of the eumelanin grains. We find this mutation in the turquoisine and the splendid par example.

The wildtype Bourke has already brown eumelanin grains. This is a unique characteristic of the Bourke. This brown eumelanin is influencing all colours of the plumage. Blue becomes pale blue. Red changed into rose. Yellow alters brown yellow. The brown eumelanin is one of the differences between the Bourke and the Neophema. The conclusion has to be made that the Bourke is a cinnamon bird by nature. When we call the new colour variety cinnamon in stead of the wrong name isabel we neglect the peculiar qualities of the wildtype Bourke. Still a mutation of the Bourke came into being. How we shall call the colour variety?

There are two possibilities. The mutation factor is a reduction factor or it is an oxidation factor. The inheritance of that factor is sex-linked. Beckmann wrote about a quantitative reduction of the amount of eumelanin grains. About 50%. This plead for a reduction factor. Another possibility is less oxidation of the eumelanin grains. Kop pointed out that there are more oxidation phases from light brown to dark brown and black. When the oxidation stops earlier the brown grains are lighter than normal. In both cases light cinnamon is the best name. And in this way we show that there is a difference between the cinnamon splendid etc.and the light cinnamon Bourke.

Development: Demarest (Holland) bred the first light cinnamon in 1959. The inheritance was sex-linked. This means that it was possible to build up a good strain. This strain is mainly developed by Verstraeten, a famous breeder in Limburg. A year later this colour variety was bred by Partridge (England) also. It is a pity that there is so little interest in Europe in this mutation that this colour variety almost disappeared.

Some pictures of the cinnamon (Zimt) Bourke

I am grateful to the breeders who send me pictures by E-mail Mr. Revardel (France) and Manegold (Germany). This colourvariety rare in Europe. I want to keep contact with this and other breeders who have them in their aviary. The differences in colour are probably due to the different light situations in the aviaries. Young birds have red eyes. When they grown up the colour becomes darker. The nails and bill are grey not horn coloured like the fallow and pastel.

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Copyright 2004 by Bob Fregeres