Clearwings - A Fascinating and Gripping Pursuit

by Malcolm Freemantle

When starting out to produce Clearwings, Yellow-wing and Whitewing Budgerigars irrespective of show winning qualities, the easy and quickest way is to mate the two varieties together. In this way Clearwings will be bred in the Green Series unless the Yellow-wing is split for Blue. Many of them are, so it is likely that from this pairing, both Green and Blue series will be produced.

General statements such as I have just made can be deceptive, but there is no doubt that the this pairing is the one to use when you have established a good strong exhibition line of the variety. Very few breeders are in a position to mate their Clearwings on such simple lines and if they do, it is only for one or two seasons at a time. Eventually they will find that their youngsters gradually lose size and they are not in a position to challenge other exhibitors on the show bench. Therefore, if a breeder expects to hold his own with other exhibitors, a different approach to the situation is needed. Sooner or later they will need to produce birds that will bear comparison with other fanciers' show birds.

Over the last 20 years practically every method of pairing Yellow-wings have been tried. In my own experience this is certainly true and during that period outcrossing to Normals, Opalines, Cinnamons and Lutinos, both split for Yellow and otherwise, have been attempted. That one can succeed in breeding larger Clearwings is perfectly true, although the quest for size is marred by the failings that the outcrosses inevitably produce, such as the heavily marked wings and loss of the deep body colour that is so necessary to give good contrast.

Preparatory Work Carried Out

Any newcomer to the Clearwing ranks is fortunate that a lot of preparatory work has been carried out over the years in establishing the best way to breed the variety. The method which is used by most experienced breeders is the use of Yellows and Whites paired to both Yellow-wing and Whitewing. It should go without saying that the outcross must be specially selected specimens, possessing size, head qualities and reasonable wing clarity. These specimens are not about in abundance and patience and perseverance will be required when looking for them. The breeder of Normals will from time to time produce the odd good White or Yellow. These are the ones to assist with size but you must be on your guard against any hidden factor they may carry in split form, such as Cinnamon or Opaline.

When purchasing a White or Yellow the two most important qualities to look for are wings that are free of markings and overall size and width of head. Body colour is not important at this stage, although the one showing more heavy suffusion can be better for the purpose than the lightly suffused White or Yellow. The discerning Clearwing breeder will have long since discarded Cinnamons for exhibition breeding, whether they are Cinnamon Whites or Cinnamon Yellows they are bound to do long term damage to your line of show birds and the evidence is usually there for all to see in the loss of body colour. It takes a long time to eradicate this fault.

Opalines With Discretion

Opalines can be used, but with discretion. Without doubt, the use of Opaline in Whiles and Yellows bring about size and head qualities in Clearwing pairings and from that angle appear to be the ideal mating. Unfortunately, Opaline does blur the wing markings and thereby detracts from the clarity of wing so desirable to form a complete and attractive contrast between body colour and wings. When one decides to use the Opaline, it is better to ensure that the partner is a good visual Clearwing and preferably not split for dilute or any other hidden factor.

To fanciers just commencing to breed Clearwings for the first time, it would perhaps be better to confine matings to pure Clearwings and the odd White or Yellow and continue in this mode until more experience has been obtained. There will be a certain amount of wastage when using Whites and Yellows with Clearwings and inevitably a number of the young must be discarded each season. This will ensure that those that are retained are the youngsters which are visually good in contrast together with reasonable head and mated to a White or Yellow will produce Clearwings and probably a White or Yellow, if the parents are split for that variety. Assuming they are split, the mating of White Mauve to Yellow-wing Light Green would give Yellow-wing Dark Greens and Dark Yellows. Both would be splits, the Dark Yellows for White only, and the Yellow-wings for both White and Yellow.

Let me explain the split a little further. It is not possible to tell which Yellow-wing is split for White and which is spilt for Whitewing, so it is advised that breeders treat all of them as being spilt for White. This is an excellent mating and the Yellow-wing Dark Greens arising from it, are usually of a deep and even body colour. In addition, the pairing of a Yellow to a White wing helps to maintain clarity of wing. A bird that is hardly seen these days is the Whitewing Violet Mauve. This is probably the most potent agent for the production of Whitewing Violets and ideally paired to a White Sky-blue or a White Cobalt will bring out the good deep Violet body colour. There are many more matings to produce good Clearwings and Beginners with Yellow-wings and Whitewings will find their production a fascinating and gripping pursuit.

To find out more about the breeding of this beautiful variety it is recommended that you purchase Malcolm Freemantle’s book, The Art of Breeding Clearwings (Yellow-wings and Whitewings) available direct from the Author.