Breeding Greys & Grey Greens

Grey seriesAll Normal varieties of Budgerigar are popular on the show bench today, as they have been over the years.

In this article we will discover the association between the Grey and the Grey-Green, which is probably the most prolific winning colour in recent times.

In addition, the colour expectation of these varieties will be discussed in such a way as to make them easily understood by all.


We should first start, perhaps, by explaining that there are two types of Grey – the Australian Grey and the English Grey.

The basic difference between the two, is that the Australian is dominant whilst the English is recessive.

However, in practice the English version can be ignored as they are virtually extinct – unless you know differently and in which case we would be pleased to hear from you.

For the remainder of this article we will refer to the variety as Grey with the understanding that we are referring to the dominant version.

Measuring Quality

Greys can be bred in three shades, light, medium and dark.

They can also be carrying the colour in a single or a double factor state.

When two double factor greys are paired together, this is known as “true breeding” – as only Greys will be produced.

Furthermore, no budgerigar can be split for Grey, they are either a Grey (more properly called Grey-blue) or a Grey-green or another colour all together.

Breeding Expectations

Breeding expectations from Greys are as follows (DF = Double Factor, SF = Single Factor):

  • DF Grey x DF Grey = 100% DF Grey
  • DF Grey x SF Grey = 50% DF Grey, 50% SF Grey
  • DF Grey x Non-grey = 100% SF Grey
  • SF Grey x SF Grey = 25% DF Grey, 50% SF Grey, 25% Non-grey
  • SF Grey x Non-grey = 50% SF Grey, 50% Non-grey

This is all very fine, but it is much easier to understand if we consider what happens with some real pairings.

However, before doing this, a useful tip is to consider the Greys to be Blues so that Light Grey equates to Sky Blue, Medium Grey to Cobalt etc.

Now let us work out the expectations from these birds and then add in the Grey factor.

This now gives us:

  • SF Light Grey x Light Green = 50% SF Light Grey-Green/blue, 50% Light Green/blue
  • Light Green x DF Light Grey = 100% SF Grey Green/blue
  • SF Light Grey x SF Light Grey-Green/blue = 12.5% Light Green/blue, 37.5% Grey-green/blue, 12.5% Sky Blue, 37.5% Grey

We can conclude, that if non-greys are bred from 100% Grey pairings, both parent birds are Single Factor Greys.

Double or Single Factor

The only way to tell if a Grey is a single or double factor is by test pairings.

These would be:

  • Grey x Sky Blue
    • If the young produced are both Skies and Greys then the Grey parent, either cock or hen, is a single factor
  • Grey x Light Green
    • If the young produced over several nests are Grey or Grey Greens only, then it is safe to assume that the Grey is a double factor

Double Factor Pairings

If we now look at the effects of the dark factor we discover that the expectations are as follows:

  • SF Light Grey x Cobalt = 25% SF Light Grey, 25% SF Med. Grey, 25% Sky Blue, 25% Cobalt
  • Cobalt x DF Dark Grey = 50% SF Dark Grey, 50% SF Med. Grey

The three shades of Grey may not be easy to distinguish for the beginner, but with careful study and examination of pairings and breeding results, conclusions on the shades may be drawn.

Grey & Green Pairings

Finally, we should consider the Greys in relation to Greens in pairings.

  • SF Grey Green/blue x SF Grey Green/blues = Grey Green, Grey Green/blue, Grey, Green and Blue

Some of the Greys will be single factor and others double factor.

Better Breeding due to Pedigree Knowledge

There is a certain thrill about finding the unexpected in the nest box, but it is far more preferable to be able to predict one’s breeding results – because then one is in control of the pedigree.

The more that you know about the background of your breeding stock, then the more chance you will have in breeding an eventual winner.

Gerald Binks recommends that all fanciers should download this article and retain it on file as an excellent point of reference.


All photographs below were taken & kindly supplied to us by Terry Tuxford.

Click on any image to enlarge it.



Filed Under: BeginnersBreeding



Terry Tuxford About the Author:

Terry Tuxford first began breeding budgerigars in 1979 and joined the BS in 1980. He was elevated to Champion in 1985 when he went into partnership with Brian Poole. This partnership is probably one of the longest existing partnerships in the UK hobby today having lasted some 27 years so far and is still going strong. Terry and Brian are also partnered by Yvonne Tuxford who joined the BS in 1990.

Terry demonstrated his penmanship early in his budgerigar career and wrote in the second edition of Budgerigar World. Little did he realise then that in just over 8 year’s time he would become editor following a 20 month apprenticeship with founding editor, Gerald Binks. Terry went on to edit a total of 245 editions up to May 2011.

In 1993 Terry took his Budgerigar Society Judges final examination and was awarded Subsidiary Judge of the Year and has gone on to judge the Budgerigar Society World Show on three occasions as well as many top shows at home and abroad. He is also an accomplished speaker and has been a guest at societies throughout the UK as well as Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and many other European countries.

RSSComments (3)

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  1. Wonderful experience you share Terry.

    Loved that your wise words;

    “The more that you know about the background of your breeding stock, then the more chance you will have in breeding an eventual winner.”

    Habib Ur Rehman, Pakistan

  2. Terry Hammerton says:

    Thank you, I loved this article.

    Terry Hammerton, New South Wales, Australia

  3. Ali says:

    thnxs for nice article

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