The Greywing Budgerigar

by Deamonn A Mullee

The greywing is a very attractive mutation of budgerigar and for many years it was very popular. Today however, this is not the case although in the last few years interest has steadily grown.

The first greywings to be bred in the UK were in 1919, but it has been reported that they have been in existence in Belgium and Germany as far back as 1875. In those days greywing greens were referred to as Jades and Apple greens while the greywing blue was referred to as a Pearlwing and Silverwing. On the Continent however, the green series were known as May greens.

A description of a greywing light green is:

Buttercup yellow, ornamented by 6 evenly-spaced, large round, grey spots; the outer 2 being partially covered by the base of the light violet cheek patches.
General body colour
Back, rump, breast, flanks and underparts bright grass-green diluted to 50% of a normal lightgreen's body colour.
On cheeks, back of head, neck and wings grey, midway between black and zero.
Primary wing flights
Grey with a minimal yellow edge.
Primary tail feathers
Grey with a bluish tinge.

One thing I think has contributed to the loss of popularity of the greywing is the emergence of the cinnamon mutation in 1931. As for exhibition purposes, the cinnamon and greywing were lumped together in the same class, and while the greywing held its own for a while, it was not long before the cinnamon began to dominate and therefore fewer and fewer greywings were exhibited. The fact that greywings are recessive and cinnamons are sex-linked meant that cinnamons were bred in larger numbers.

Being recessive means that both cock and hen in a pairing must either be a visual or split to produce a greywing in the first generation. An exception to the rule on pairing is that if you pair a greywing cock to a dilute hen or a normal hen split for dilute, you can produce greywings in the first generation; this is because greywing is dominant to dilute. Of course, the pairing can be reversed with a greywing hen to a dilute cock. Obviously, should anyone decide to take up the breeding of greywings, it would be advantageous to acquire a basic knowledge of how the recessive factor works. In my own case, I pair greywings to normals and opalines to produce splits and in turn the splits can be paired to visuals or other splits.

Today, the future looks better for the greywing especially with Specialist and Rare Variety Shows being held all over the country where classes are provided for them. The BS have put them in the Any Other Colour classes. This, together with many people taking up a rare variety to run alongside their mainstream colours, can only be good news for the greywing.

Pairings and Expectations - Greywings
Pairings Expectations
Normal × normal 100% normal
Normal × normal/greywing 50% normal
50% normal/greywing
Normal/greywing × normal/greywing 25% normal
50% normal/greywing
25% greywing
Normal ×greywing 100% normal/greywing
Normal/greywing × greywing 50% normal/greywing
50% greywing
Greywing × greywing 100% greywing