One Or More Interesting Sides Of Our Hobby – Derek Stiling UK

Editors note

I first met Derek Stiling in 1983, having joined the Variegated Budgerigar Club and became aware of him as the leading light for Recessive Pieds. Over the years we became budgie friends although we only met a few times each year and this was usually at one show or another. Derek was a great man who always greeted you with a genuine happy to see you smile on his face. A personal loss to Yvonne and I and an even greater loss to the hobby he loved.

Derek died on 30th May 2012.

Derek was never particularly prolific when it came to putting pen to paper but here are three of his articles, which I have combined for you to enjoy. If anyone has any photographs of Derek and his birds that I could use to illustrate this, please email to

Recessive Pieds – One Or More Interesting Sides Of Our Hobby, by Derek Stiling                                                                    


Derek Stiling

“Recessive or Danish Pieds, both names make one think of my great interest in our hobby.”

There is little doubt that you all have been guilty of having a quiet laugh about Recessive Pieds at some time or another; at a show or at a meeting where they have been mentioned and they have been the ‘butt’ in the fancy for some 50 years.

The Recessive Pied or Danish Pied, as the name suggests, first reared its head in Denmark and after the Second World War appeared in the U.K. The restriction on movement of birds was once much more relaxed compared to today’s requirements, although things are to change once again shortly. Also at the time, I and many other fanciers started with a small shed and flight, hung up a few nest boxes and then let Mother Nature take her course, in other words colony breeding was used. Today, selective controlled breeding is the way that most fanciers operate.

Not An Every Day Budgerigar Breeder

I first saw a Recessive Pied in 1955, just after I was demobbed from the Army having served two years National Service and I became hooked on them then and am even more so today. This variety has been my specialisation since that time, which as you can see is over 38 years. To date, I believe that I possibly have one of, if not the purest strain of this Pied in the country today. Yes, this is some boast to make but I should explain that I am not an every day Budgerigar Breeder. I have done a number of things my way, which somehow are not what you find written in most books or what most fanciers would recommend. These we will further explore later in this article.

To breed the Recessive Pied and to produce a competitive specimen, the approach is identical to any other variety of Budgerigar. Look to the B.S. Standard and understand what has to be achieved. Granted, your birds may fall short of what is required in many respects but this is all a part of the challenge.

Initially the breeder should ignore colour and markings and breed for type and as with Normals, select your pairs so as not to duplicate faults and to double up on good points. Look at your pairs and try to create that balance that should surely produce for you the ‘ideal’.  The next stage in the process is to consider the wing markings of the Recessive Pied. In my view, based on years of experience, we as breeders have little control over the outcome of wing markings, for instance two lightly marked birds can produced a nest of heavily marked youngsters and just the opposite can occur with two heavily marked specimens.

Back To Where You Started

I am certain that if one was to discard all of the birds in the aviary that were not of the required standard, so far a markings are concerned and then pair the rest up, within one season you would be back to where you started from, with the cross section of wing marking types. Keep the birds of good type, even if the markings are not all that you would want them to be and at the other end of the scale eliminate those that are well over the top or under the limit but not if they are showing a reasonable amount of type. Let me hasten to add that I am not advocating that one should exhibit poorly marked Recessive Pieds. These should be left at home and are your stock birds from which the show specimens are bred.

Why do I shock the fancy with my breeding methods? All the good books say that to breed Recessive Pieds one should pair them to good Normals which will result in Normals that are split for Recessive Pied being produced. If these are bred to your best Recessive Pieds in the next season then the resultant young should be approximately 50% Recessive Pieds and 50% Normals/Recessive Pieds. This to me is a very good method but is not the one that I prefer.

My Method

My method of breeding this variety of Budgerigar is to purchase the best qualityNormalthat I can find/afford and pair it to one of my Recessive Pieds to produce splits. Over two seasons I will pair it to at least two mates and probably more, so that I will have two or three families outcrossed by the purchasedNormal. The next stage is to pair the splits together with the resultant expectation from this type of pairing being 25% Recessive Pied, 25% Normal Splits and 50% Normals.

You will observe from what I have described that I have lost 50% of my Recessive Pied potential but I am pleased to do this and I will tell you why. When you pair a Split Normal to a Recessive Pied you have the blood line of 25% of theNormaland of 75% the Recessive Pied. In my opinion, this is a weak combination but by using two Split Normals together I have the bloodline divided 50:50 betweenNormaland Recessive Pied. This is much better and produces offspring that are more likely to emulate the Normals characteristics than any other combination.

Dark Eyed Clears, by Derek Stiling

In the Budgerigar Fancy this could be the eighth wonder of the world – has this made you want to read on?

There are only two colours as in the Lutino and the Albinos but of course there are three shades in each of Yellow and White. Very rare is it that you find any shading of blue or green in this variety of Yellows and Whites, which cannot be said of the Red Eye variety.

The same could be said about body markings. I have only ever bred one that has any black marking, and I was lucky as it was a white hen and she had three or four black feathers under her wing where the shoulder covers the body so unless it was made to move, and it was the right way round, it was always covered up and I only got a comment twice about it from a Judge in four years of showing her.

Dark-eyed clear it is said to be Recessive but you try breeding with it and then surprise -surprise.

Take a trueNormaland pair it to a Dark Eye Clear, and here is your first surprise, Normals split for Recessive but also you could find that you have bred some form of Dominant Pied, yes the Continental Clear Flight. Now if you had paired that same normal to a Recessive Pied, you would have only what you would have expected Normals split for recessive.

So we have some Normals split for recessive and we now pair one of them to Dark Eye Clear, and what a can of beans you have now opened, it is possible that you could have, Normal Split Recessive Pieds, Continental Clear Flights and Dark Eye Clears.

Completely Disregard

Let’s now change and pair a Continental Clear Flight to a single factor to a Dark Eyed Clear and you could now find that you have bred Continental Clear Flight, Recessive Pied, Dark Eyed Clears and Normals Split for Recessive.

Any Normals bred from any pairing that a split has been used as a parent, I completely disregard for any further use within my breeding room.

As you can see the Dark Eye Clear is classed as a Recessive but with a Recessive it will breed Recessive with a Norma lit will produce a Dominant, and with a split it can produce you both.

It is at all time masking all colours and shades of those colours, this is very hard to see in the white variety but in the yellow variety the three shades of yellow can be seen if you look hard enough, and of course there is also the yellow face types that you can also breed.

Here again I have to feel for the Judge when he has two types of recessive birds in front of him, on one hand, one that has a set down form of marking to be judged by and the second that has no markings on it in any shape of form, to breed a well marked Recessive Pied should take preference over a Clear as it is harder to achieve, but is that fair to the breeder of Clear that he has also worked hard to get.

Continental Clear Flighted Pieds, By Derek Stiling

This is a Personal Account of my Experience over the past years.

My first love is the Recessive Pieds in the straight Green or Blue Colours, backed up with the Dark Eye Clears, both Recessive Varieties.

It was many years on (as I have been a breeder since 1955) possibly in the late 80s that I did by accident breed some Continental Clear Flights.

The first time I bred some as I said was by accident and I let the late Mr. Stan Elsmore of Middlesex have them.

From then on I have produced a few more and decided to work on them as well, for all of my time till then I would buy a Normal and cross it to a Recessive Pied and produce my own splits and in turn pair them to Recessive Pieds and Dark Eye Clears crossed to Recessive Pied, but one year I was left with a Normal split that I had no suitable partner for but had a Dark Eye Clear which I thought why not and use the two together and this how I produced Continental Clear Flighted Pied. I personally refer to this as back door breeding and after that first year I have taken a more and more interest in them.

A Bit More Effort

You can now see that I have only bred these from and on the recessive back ground of stock, so when I retired very late in 1999 I decided to put a bit more effort into them, so I went out and got myself a few straight normals from one man and set myself up to have a good breeding season.

Oh dear what a fool I was, three pairs was set up and all my guns was blazing, the three pairs produced me 34 chicks, but the down side was only four was Continental Clear Flights the rest were all Normals but the few certainly was an improvement.

My clanger was all my Continental Clear Flights were all single factor all split for recessive.

This year (2000) I had to start all over again, put I used Dark eyed Clears to the Normals, and against the rules paired Continental Clear Flights up as pairs to breed some double factor for this coming season.

From all of this I have now bred from my Dark Eye Clears paired to Normals, Normals Split for Recessive and Single factor Continental Clear Flight, which in a way I can see that I now have the best of both worlds, I am now not over dosed with Normal Splits and I have A new blood of Continental Clear Flights.

I am as yet to get any where near the perfect C.C.F. Pied, but on that score I am by no means alone, but I do show them like a fool but as a recessive man no one seem surprised, but to have seven clear flight in each wing, and a clear tail, with a patch on the back of the head, and no face spillage down the front of the chest. Mine are as good as the next mans, if he was to show them.

A Long Way Off

Yes mine are like most a long way off, and I know it will take a long time before I get there, but I am trying.

For a Champion I suppose it is a bit grim for me to show my stock of C.C.F., but I do find it most interesting to stand near by the stand at a show and hear some of the comments made about them, and many a time the person does not have clue what he is looking at, still it brighten up the day.

Really it is the poor Judge that I feel very sorry for, for he has two types of dominant Pied’s to judge in one class, each one is the opposite to the other, lets go through it first the Dominant Pied, this after all the basis have been done regarding size condition and stance.

No head Patch, Marked feather in flights and tail acceptable,

Spillage down from the mask is also right, body colour should be patchy, and so can the wings. Continental Clear Flight Pied, same as the other regards to condition etc., but now a bird as near Normal as possible, first a head patch, seven clear flight feather in each wing and a clear tail, no broken plumage in the wings, no spillage of the face colour into the chest, and one complete body colour as in a normal.

Thank goodness I only try to breed them, and not try to judge them.


Filed Under: BeginnersBreedingFeatured



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.

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