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World first Scarlet-chested Parrot Mutation
for Australia (Neophema splendida)

(Printable Version - PDF file - Free Adobe Reader download)

By Paul Henry

Recently, Sydney Aviculturist Murray Macpherson, bred the world first cinnamon–pastel mutation in the scarlet–chested parrot.

This was the result of combining a cinnamon mutation with a pastel mutation bird. Australia is the only country in the world with pastel mutation in Scarlet–chested parrots. Murray was also the originator of the cinnamon mutation in Australia.

History of the development of the cinnamon mutation in Australia

In 2010, Murray Macpherson got quite a surprise when looking into a nest of scarlet-chested parrots to find two unusual coloured chicks beside two normal coloured chicks.
Murray had been breeding scarlet-chested parrots since 1977 and had maintained a family of normal coloured birds.  He has rarely brought in any outside birds and then when he did, he was careful to select only normal coloured birds.  The sire was bred down from his original family so the youngsters must be a spontaneous mutation.

The following year, 2011, both coloured hens were paired to normal coloured cocks and bred several normal young, both cocks and hens. The normal coloured siblings were also paired to normal coloured birds.  The hens only produced normal coloured birds but several of the cocks over the next year or two produced coloured hens.

At first, he thought they could be pastel coloured birds, but as the birds matured their flight feathers were brown. A pastel has grey flights.  After much investigation he suspected that it could be a cinnamon mutation.  There were no cinnamon scarlet-chested mutations in Australia so the only way to be sure was to test mate the birds.  This confirmed that he had produced a sex-linked mutation.  The most likely sex-linked mutation was cinnamon.

An additional confirmation was when the well know European Neophema breeder Hans Van Roogan visited me and I took him to Murray’s to view his birds.  He had no doubt that they were a cinnamon mutation.

Cinnamon-pastel Mutation of the Scarlet-chested Parrot

World First Scarlet-chested Parrot Cinnamon-Pastel Mutation for Australia bred by Murray Macpherson

The Cinnamon mutation affects the colour of the normal bird by preventing the conversion of brown pigment into black pigment (incomplete melanogenesis). Cinnamon is always sex-linked in inheritance.

The one difficulty with a sex-linked mutation is that the progeny of a split cock with a normal hen are only possibly split for cinnamon. So many of the cocks produced had to be test mated to determine if they were split to cinnamon.

In 2013 I acquired two possible split cocks from Murray. After test mating, one of these cocks turned out to be split cinnamon. In the follow year I acquired several more split cocks from Murray to pair to my cinnamon hens.

Over the next few years we swapped various birds to maintain genetic diversity. We also crossed cinnamon birds with blue mutation birds and bred a lovely soft coloured blue bird. Unlike the pastel blue mutation, it does not darken after the first moult.

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