Friday, October 28, 2011

The Bengo Colours

Here is a comprehensive list from overseas of the Bengo colours represented on a poster.

This list is from overseas and a large amount of the colours are not available in Australia or the status is unknown. The Bengos that are known to be in Australia are highlighted Red  

Self chocolate 1 (Pictured is the Euro Self)  
Self chestnut 2  
Self-fawn 3  
Chocolate dilute 4  (in the past but presently unknown)  
Chestnut dilute 5  
Fawn dilute 6   (in the past but presently unknown) 
Chestnut clearwing 7  
Fawn clearwing 8  
Self black-grey 9  
Self chestnut-grey 10  
Black-grey dilute 11  
Chestnut-grey dilute 12  
Chestnut clearwing 13  
Self fawn-grey 14  
Fawn grey dilute 15  
Fawn grey clearwing 16  
Cream ino 17  
Grey ino 18  
Self-white 19  
Albino 20  
Marked-whitehead 21  
Marked-with-eyering 22  
Marked-with-cap 23  
Fawn-marked-with-cap 24  
Chocolate-and-white 25  
Chestnut-and-white 26  
Chocolate crested 27  
Fawn crested 28  
White crested 29
Selfblack-grey frill 30

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Chestnut Self Bengo.2

Dilute Chestnuts.
I have seen a few random examples of pied Chestnuts through my travels so the (Dark) Self Chestnut was not a huge surprise. However I was not aware of the Light Chestnut until recently when I have been in touch with the Bengalese Finch enthusiasts from Qld. You can see one of my Light Chestnut Bengos in the picture to the left.

The Bengalese Finch book descibes this colouring of my Bengo as a "Dilute Chestnut" (right picture).

I have been told that the Dilute Chestnuts or "Silvers" (as they were called) that were relatively common in Queensland around ten years ago resembled a bird like the Bengalese Mannikin pictured to the left.

From what I can gather, both examples are in fact "Dilute Chestnuts" however they have varied degrees of this Diluted factor.

I  suspect that this level of dilution (bottom left picture) could be achieved through selective breeding for dilution through numerous generations. Through my current contacts I do not know of any breeders that keep the Silver Bengo, so to develop this colour through selective breeding would surely be a formidable project to undertake in the future.

Chestnut Self Bengo.1

One of the less seen colours of the pied Bengalese in Australia  is the Chestnut and because of this the Self Chestnut Bengo is a particularly rare find. The finch exhibitors club of Sydney have judging classes for Chocolate and Ginger (Fawn) at this stage and I can assume that this is largely due to these two coulours being far more common. The Chestnut it would seem is a far less common mutation of the Aussie Bengo particularly when compared to the Fawn and Chocolates. By nature the Chestnut Bengo varies quite a lot between shades of dark/light and red/brown. With my Self Bengalese I believe I have one pair of Dark Chestnuts and one pair of Light Chestnuts. To the left is one of my Dark Chestnuts.  The BBS colour standard describes the desired Chestnut colour as a "Dark Coffee Brown" so I would say that the picture to the left and bellow are similar to this nominated standard.

 My pair of (dark) Chestnuts have gone down to nest now and they have been sitting on 6 eggs for a week now. Time will tell in a few days to a weeks time as to how many eggs are fertile. We shall see......

 Overseas the Chestnut can also be called the "Moccabrown" (seen in left picture)

 To the left you can see the difference between my Darker Chestnut (left in picture) and what can be called a Dilute Chestnut (right in picture)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Ginger Self Bengo.1

There have always been two common colours of the pied Bengalese Mannikin in Australia one is the Chocolate Bengo and the other is called the Fawn or Ginger. In Australia our Ginger Bengalese generally looks more "Fawn" than "Ginger" where the common variety has a distinct tan-like colour. In the Selfs that I have seen so far this type of colour is often represented like the image to the right here and show hints of orange-like tones in them (image from outside Australia).

I am learning quickly that there is an infinite amount of variation in colour between individual Bengalese and the subtle differences in the amount of RED, BROWN and DARK BROWN or lack there of contribute to this.

In Europe the standard for Ginger is much darker than the previously mentioned colour and is also called Red/Brown (Shown Right), to the point that a Bengo with colourings as the top picture is often named a Dilute Fawn or Dilute Red/Brown.

The Colour Standard proposed by the Bengalese Breeders Society in Australia (Click Here to see Standard) states that the Fawn or Ginger colour is to be a dark red brown. In my opinion the finch shown here to the right is an example of this.

Another thing to note is that a key distinguishing factor of the Fawn or Ginger Self Bengalese Mannikin is that the top half of the beak is of a similar colour to that of the bottom half. You can see examples of this in the top two images.

One of my Chestnut Selfs shows some distinctive Red/Brown colourings but can can not be called a Ginger because of its dark upper beak. There are some references on the net about a Fox Red Bengo and I gather that this foreign Bengo has been bred selectively for the most Red colourings. .....Sounds interesting ;-)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cocolate Self Bengo.1

Here a few quick picks of one of my Chocolate Selfs. He is a cockbird and has some nice scolloping across the bib area and also fairly reasonable underbelly markings. Quite a nice finch. Both of my chocolates are cockbirds.

A Real Beginning

I went to Bruce's on the weekend and caught up with him and met Tim. Bruce was nice enough to show me some of his Chocolate Bengos up close and they were very nice, quite large and had very nice type, one in particular he had exhibited before and it was quire impressive. We chatted for some time about Bengalese and also Zebras. Unfortunately I could not stay long as I needed to get back to Sydney to beat the traffic on the long weekend and also let my new Self Bengos from Tim settle in at home for the night.
They are very nice. There are two chocolates one dark chestnut and three light chestnuts. A few of them were not in good feather and had been plucked by other birds prior so it will be a while before I can take a reasonable photo of them. They are fairly small little guys compared to the show Self Bengos such as Bruces and smaller again compared to the pair of Sydney show pieds that I have currently. From what I understand there is a lot of work to be done to develop most Selfs into such Size and Type.
For now I am very excited to have a couple of Selfs for myself and also pleased that I have a few colours that seem a bit special to me which are the Chestnuts.

So..Yay!. Let the games begin!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

How to Breed?

Once I had decided that I wanted to breed Selfs I had to work out how I would do it with my aviary set up at home. At the time my enclosure had multiple nesting baskets for my finches, I only had one pair of Bengos and I quickly learned from my friends that I would struggle to successfully breed more than one or two pairs. Generally, when there are a group of Bengalese in a small enclosure like mine they will all try and pile into one nest on top of each other and because of this often breaking eggs and restricting the rearing process of young finches.

 Aside from that in a group like this it is impossible to chose which finch will pair up together so any effective form of selective breeding is not possible.

I decided that I would build a cabinet to selectively breed my pairs of finches and remove all of the nests and nesting materials from the main Aviary and designate that as a holding flight for my flock. Following this I started the process of designing what I would do. Unfortunately since I am living in a unit my ideas were limited to one cabinet but since the Bengalese Mannikin can breed in quite small cages I decided to divide the cabinet in two. Now best practice is to give them more room than this for their condition and fitness but my plan is to rotate the birds into the holding cage after each clutch and not keep a pair in the cabinet for any long duration. You can see in the top image the Budgie cabinet that I selected and when I bought this I also bought two more of the same cage fronts so that I could use the doors. I  put two doors on the front and one as the divider between the two halves so that the whole cabinet could be open if the divider door is open. Next I made a screen to protect the finches from the local Noisy Miners here in Sydney and I did this by making a fly screen like you would have on your house windows you can buy the materials from Bunnings. I have trialed this with my pet shop Bengos and it works quite well. So at this stage I am ready to go!!