Frosted Pied?

In October 2011, the following comment / request was posted by Jo Ann Boyle – a novice breeder from Georgia, USA.


I am a member of BAA and ABS here in the USA.

I live in Georgia.

I have an unusual marked bird that has been labelled frosted pied. I am a novice and turning intermediate next year – due in no small part to this bird whom I have named “Jack Frost”.

I can find no clear statement as to what a Frosted Pied is supposed to look like. Jack’s crown is white and his mask has violet patches, with large round black spots. His body color is a soft blue somewhere between sky and cobalt & brighter sky color on back between wings.

There is some mottling of white through blue on chest. He has a spot on the back of head like other pieds.

His feet are mottled blue/pink.

His wing flights are mostly white with a couple of dark/black feathers. The tail has 4 central long feathers. Two underneath are about 3/4 length and white, while the top 2 are full length and dark blue.

He is unusually large for a baby 8+ months old. The black/white wing markings are somewhat blurred like snow on them – there is no blue wash into the wing color.

His cere seems to be developing into a normal blue.

Two world budgerigar judges, David Collier, formerly from UK now residing in US, and Mr Al-Nasser of the UK seem to think he is a Frosted Pied – as well as other US judges – but I can not find a clear standard of what a frosted pied should be.

The mother/hen is a white DEC from Gorden Davis’ aviary in Florida. The cock is a dark green recessive pied split from Maureen Broderick here in Georgia.

His line also traces back to Gordon Davis.

The clutch produced a white DEC hen, a recessive pied, 2 green clear flights that died as babies of unknown cause, and Jack – the largest and first to hatch. Will repair them this breeding season.

As a novice I need a real clear statement of standard for a dominant/Australian pied, a Dutch/clear flight pied, and a frosted pied as well as how to tell the difference between them.

There is currently a pied here in the USA that is in question – Dom Pied or Clear flight.

We are due to go to a show in December in New Orleans. Hopefully Dr Travenechek (sp?) will be able to look at him then.

Still somewhere there must be a standard to follow?

Many Thanks,
Jo Ann Boyle
Georgia, USA


Jo Ann has now kindly taken and sent us photographs of “Jack Frost”.

If you can help Jo Ann, please add your comments to this post.

Click on any image to enlarge it.


Filed Under: BeginnersBreedingNoticeboard



About the Author: Gerald Binks began breeding budgerigars when he was 12 years old and is now arguably the most knowledgeable budgerigar fancier in the world. He has bred his fair share of Best in Show birds, judged in no less than 20 countries, founded the World Budgerigar Association, and has published two of the three classic books on the hobby. His stud in the UK attracts fanciers from near and far and is always high on the list for those wishing to purchase BA23 quality budgerigars.

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  1. Hello,

    “Jack Frost” is in my opinion a Frosted Pied.


    Didier Mervilde, Belgium

  2. Jo Ann Boyle says:

    Dear Mr. Mervilde,

    Thank you so much for taking a look at Jack Frost.

    As a judge and expert breeder in this area, considering conformation to show standard, could you tell me any faults and positive attributes that you perceive looking toward the show bench?

    Also, what should I look for in a suitable hen – for pairing to balance these to produce good quality, healthy chicks, and hopefully, more future Frosted and or Dutch Pieds when Jack is mature enough to breed?

    Is it possible for him to produce Clear Flight Pieds and how will they differ from Dutch Pieds?

    Should I attempt to keep the Dutch, Frosted line separate from possible Clear Flights to preserve the clarity of the mutation?

    The chicks that were in his clutch died too young for me to confirm Clear Flight, or Dutch and, in fact, I was not aware Jack Frost was a Frosted Pied until he was reclassified at a show earlier this year.

    I have studied your article on Dutch Pieds – as well as the Slates and other endangered mutations. There is a lot of good information and photos to absorb.

    Thank you for the time and energy you have expended in helping beginners like myself in the learning process.Any guidance from you will be most appreciated.

    Jack Frost is a gift that I want to treat with love and respect – and hopefully produce even better chicks in the future.


    Jo Ann Boyle, Georgia, USA

  3. Stephen Fowler says:

    Hi Jo Ann,

    I saw Jack Frost at the AZ Grand National where you got second place. You have a wonderful bird.

    Jack is a Dutch Pied with a frosted factor.

    Quite frankly you are on the cutting edge of budgerigar genetics.

    No one really knows what makes a frosted pied different from a “normal” Dutch pied without frost.

    A Dutch pied is a Clear-flighted pied split for Recessive Pied. The interaction between the recessive and dominant pied factors that creates the Dutch Pied and the Dark-Eyed Clear is not understood.

    The rare or endangered component of Jack’s make up is the dominant Clear-Flighted component. This dominant mutation has never been popular in exhibition circles as it is difficult to “improve” to exhibition size.

    In looking for a mate for Jack, you could select a wonderful normal hen that would produce 50% Clear-Flights. This choice could be disappointing as Clear-Flights are notorious for being of minimal expression i.e. a single dot on the back of the head.

    If you could locate a Dutch-Pied hen with clear-flights, it may be possible to further the Clear-Flighted phenotype. However, if one breeds a Dutch-Pied to a Dutch-Pied there are as many as 27 or so genotypes possible. This is what makes the Dutch pied very exciting to me and others.

    Being on the cutting edge as a beginner may be scary but it also could be very rewarding. As you know as much as the experts.

    Be sure to take notes and lots of photographs and good Luck in your endeavor.

    Stephen Fowler, Arizona, USA

  4. Jo Ann Boyle says:

    Dear Mr Mervilde and Mr Fowler,

    Thank you for your comments and detail on the clear flight/ Dutch / Frosted Pied. The genetic process for these bird really grabs my attention.

    I Visited Dr Travencek and his partner Vic at their aviary in Louisiana this past weekend after the ABS show there. What an honor to meet them and see their wonderful birds.

    I came away with new ideas to ponder and a growing appreciation for Jack Frost.

    As you suggested, they said to find the best normal hen I can to breed to Jack Frost.

    I will take a few days to get the show team settled and then start to set up for breeding. Jack Frost’s parents are first on the list.

    I did make an error in the first post: The split recessive pied cock that is Jack’s father came from the aviary of Gene Johnson who passed away in recent years. Gene then gave Maureen Broderick the stock that resulted in Jack Frost’s father.

    Many thanks,

    Jo Ann Boyle, Georgia, USA

  5. Robyn Grinter says:

    It’s a shame that you are not close to where I live Jo Anne, as I have a cinnamon hen with the same frosting.

    You could have put them together. She was just a normal cinnamon grey hen until after her first moult, then she turned “blotchy” as I called it, until someone on Facebook showed me your Jack Frost.

    So now we will call her Frosted!

    Good luck with breeding more of them – do you still have Jack’s mother?

    It may be worth trying him over her to see if you can breed more before you outcross to other birds. Just a thought, if both parents have to carry the gene for it to turn out, it might be the best mating to get more of them to work with.

    Good luck and regards,
    Robyn Grinter, New Zealand

  6. Jo Ann Boyle says:

    Hi Robyn,

    Thanks for sharing. Putting Jack back to his mother is an interesting possibility. This breeding season I put Jack up with a yellow face sky/violet recessive pied hen that I breed from Gordon Davis’ line of DEC. Two clutches produced a WDEC, two frosted pied cocks, one cobalt like Jack and a yellow face mauve, and six recessive pied splits. I was surprised that a couple of the splits are cinnamon. Dr Travenck, here in the US told me to avoid the cinnamon and opaline because this could dilute the markings. He is a purist. The cinnamon’s appear to be hens and are really pretty, especially the yellow face. I love the sauccy baby faces. We will have to see if any of them show frosting as they grow older. I an glad Jack’s picture was a help to ID your Frosted. Jack is such a gift. I pinch myself to see if he is real. He has been a wonderful father.

    I just returned from a show in New Jersey, where Jack took first place in the Rare Division both days. This is his first time at a show this year as he has been in the nest box. We go to a show in Tampa, Fla. next, and then the Grand National in Huston in September. That will be it for him as he is most important in the nest box.

    The young frosted cocks are not as big as Jack, but the frosting and even eye ring on one are showing at about 5 months. I am still looking for a really good normal sky hen for Jack this fall as good hens are hard to come by here. Is it not amazing that we are communicating across the globe!!

    Pleas keep me informed about your progress. A picture would be great!! Hopefully we can inspire others to develop Frosted Pieds. It is not easy, but I like good challenges. With Rares you have to have both good Rares and good normals to improve the size. As big as Jack is he is still a bit small for the top bench.


    Jo Ann Boyle, Georgia, USA

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