The Seafoam Mutation

Seafoam Mutation in AustraliaOn a visit to the aviaries of Kevin O’Callaghan (in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia) in 2010, a couple of birds that did not appear to be the norm stood out.

These birds had a Yellow Face with no yellow in the cap.

The cap was white – in fact almost whiter than white if this could be so.

Kerle Faced Blue

On asking Kevin where these birds originated, he told me they were from Graeme Kerle of Townsville in Queensland.

In 2003, Graham produced the following from a Yellow Faced Opaline Cobalt hen (purchased at auction from Ernie Wise of New South Wales) and a Spangle Grey cock (non yellow faced, purchased from Robert Manvel also of New South Wales in one of his sale lots):

  • 2 x Spangle Yellow Faced Sky cocks
  • 1 x Spangle Yellow Faced Sky hen
  • 1 x Spangle Sky cock

The Yellow Faced progeny were all visual “Seafoam” and were quite obviously different when viewed in the nest – the mask being yellow, the cap white and the body colour “Seafoam”.

Neither parent had any visual variations to what would be described as “normal” for their respective variety.

The initial resultant offspring from this pairing suggest that the Spangle was not a Double Factor Yellow face.

Seafoam Yellow Face

The term “Seafoam” was nominated by Jennie Liebich as soon as she sighted them.

The body colour in each resembled the colour of the sea, just below the foam of a breaking wave.

“Seafoam” does not reflect the mask and cap colouration, but the body colour only.

Realistically they could be called “Kerle Faced Blue” to reflect the origins – or “Seafoam Yellow Face” to embrace Jennie’s initial artistic interpretation.

Seafoam Pairings

The pairings at Graeme’s, resulted in nests averaging 70% visual “Seafoam” – with the non-visual still carrying the trait, as “Seafoams” were bred from these non-visual pairings.

Visual “Seafoams” to Normal Green series birds, resulted in visual Blue series (“non-Seafoam”), and Opaline Green hens. These paired back to Blue series (“non-visual Seafoam”), then gave a very high visual result in “Seafoam” of about 60% – this being Graeme’s assessment.

Jennie’s Pairings

When the first of these “Seafoam” birds were produced, Graeme, as I understand it, gave a couple to a backyard breeder not knowing what he had produced.

Kevin noticed some on a visit to Graeme’s and was fortunate enough to obtain some to breed with. Kevin then was kind enough to gift a couple to Jennie for her to work with.

The pair that arrived with Jennie back to Mount Gambier, were both visual “Seafoams” (one being Normal and the other a Spangle), and when these produced chicks she and I were overjoyed to see that a couple were “Seafoams”.

Regretably, these chicks did not seem to have a long life expectancy, thus a number of outcrosses occurred quickly, to try to ensure that the strain remained.

Note that Graeme did not have the same issue – it may have been that the birds that arrived at Mount Gambier were a little close.

On pairing non-visual to visual, there are now a couple of “out crossed” visual birds to work with.

There are others that have been paired to non-visuals with no resultant visuals as yet – thus more “proofing” will be required to fully ascertain breeding possibilities.

Further Birds

Graham and Kevin have sent down some further birds (“non-visual”) that have produced this new variety for them. Jennie and I cannot thank these two gentlemen enough for giving us the opportunity to work with these and the previous pair of birds.

One interesting occurrence, is that we now have a Green with a Yellow Mask and White cap – produced from two blues!

Sharing the News

This information is being released in order to share this new mutation with others – and to also see if changes are occurring elsewhere in the world of a similar nature.

It is a bit premature to determine the breeding habits of this variety, noting that it is Dominant but other surprises might present.

I believe the Spangle has something to do with this mutation – other aviaries that I have visited recently have changes occurring, and all of these go back to the Spangle parentage.

It is also interesting, as Roy Aplin (of the United Kingdom) painted birds similar to these some years ago – predicting such a change might occur.


All photographs below were kindly supplied to us by Nigel Tonkin.

Click on any image to enlarge it.



Filed Under: BreedingFeaturedNews



About the Author: Nigel Tonkin is President of the Budgerigar Council of South Australia and has judged in the Australian Nationals, New Zealand, Switzerland & Germany. He is heavily involved in producing the new Australian Standard pictorial - working with Roy Aplin.

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  1. Honestly speaking, super findings on seafoam mutation and I hope that whiteface green are possible in the future.

    I remember the debate Nigel which we did in the past along with Dewayne Weldon, Gordon, Stephen Fowler, Didier, Betty, John Zerafa and few others.

    Well done and please forward my greeting to the breeder.

    Thank you very much.

    Habib Ur Rehman, Pakistan

  2. Sidharth says:

    Some months ago I bred a violet pair of normal budgerigars and four chicks hatched.

    They grew well with one of the chick clutch as double violet factor and single dark factored opaline , the parents were also violet opalines.

    BUT I noticed the tail feathers which look like the above sea foam mutation tail feather picture for all 4 chicks as of like spangles tail feather markings.

    They are not spangles but they are opalines with a different tail and also some sort of wing markings look like spangled boldly not like good spangles thin ones.

    I sold the pair with all four chicks and after searching on the Internet about these birds, I found some of them in the page below as melanistic spangles:

    Sidharth, India

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