SHOWS AND THE CLASSIFICATION
by Ghalib Al-Nasser

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BS Club Show 2001

WHENEVER the show season in the United Kingdom is upon us, newcomers to our hobby may find the task of recognising the colour of the birds and in which class to enter them somewhat daunting. My first advice is to join your local society and get to know local fanciers. I am sure they will provide all the assistance that you need. All you need to is to ask.

Secondly, I refer you to our current B.S. Rule Book and the Colour Standards book that you received on joining the Budgerigar Society. Both are valuable for your progression in our hobby. The Colour Standards book describes each colour and variety and is further enhanced by the colour plates on pages 45 to 56. The current Rule Book on page 14 gives you the description of the colour/variety of each colour group in the show classification. So study both well if you are not sure.

Most colours and varieties are easily recognisable but there are a few that are not, even to the knowledgeable fancier so do not be afraid to ask.

We now have a mandatory classification for Diploma shows and all types of championship shows. It may be easier if you can think of the classification in 19 colour group categories. They are as follows:

Green series
Blue series
Grey Green
Grey
Opaline Green series
Opaline Blue series
Cinnamon
Opaline Cinnamon
Lutino
Albino
Yellow-wing
Whitewing
Crest
Spangle (including Double Factors)
Dominant Pied or Clearflight
Recessive Pied including Dark-Eyed Clear
Yellow/Golden Faces
Rare Variety
Any Other Colour

Of course these colour groups are further sub-divided into cock and hen classes and at some shows certain colour groups may be even further sub-divided into green and blue colours within a particular group such as the Spangles or Pieds. Also remember that at the above shows (in most cases) the cocks have an odd number in the classification and the hens have an even number. The exception to the rule is that at the area and 2* championship shows the first six colour groups will have an extra class in each of them whereby the hens are also an even number.

There are also a number of Specialist & Rare Variety shows around the country and their classification deals only with the colour groups 9 to 19 but with much extended classes within each colour group.

Furthermore, the Budgerigar Society has laid down an order of priority which can be found at the bottom of page 10 of the current Rule Book. This order places the Crest highest followed by Spangle, Dominant Pied, Recessive Pied, Yellow Face, Rare Varieties and finally the A.O.C. All nice and simple but from the number of phone calls I receive during the show season indicate that it is not as simple as that to some fanciers.

Now let us examine some of the varieties in the lower part of the classification. The B.S. introduced a new challenge certificate for the 2000 show season (group 18) and declared that the varieties within that group are the Clearbody, Fallow, Slate and Saddleback. This means that what left within the A.O.C. group are the Yellows, Whites, Lacewings, Greywings, Opaline/Cinnamon Clearwings and the Half-Siders.

Mentioning all these colours/varieties should help the newcomer to decide which class he/she can enter his/her birds. However, complications arise when the bird is a "composite" bird. What I mean by that is a bird that visually has more than one variety to its make up. For example a Crested Spangle Yellowface Cobalt or a Yellowface Greywing. Well, if you follow the Order of Priority as outlined above then the problem will be simplified, I hope.

If you study how the classification at shows, whether it is a championship or specialist & rare variety, is laid out and remember the order of priority then nothing should go wrong. Let us now consider some composite birds.

A Yellowface Albino must be entered in the Yellowface class even though the Albino class is above the Yellowface class. This of course can be confusing but if you read the colour description for the Albino on page 19 of the Colour Standards book then the directive is clearer. This also applies to the Yellowface Whitewing, which should be exhibited in the Yellowface class as the Whitewing class is for the white faced Whitewings only.

A Yellowface Spangle must be entered in the Spangle class because of the order of priority, but all budgerigars sporting a crest regardless of their colour or variety must be shown in the crest classes.

A Yellowface Clearbody, a Yellowface White or a Yellowface Lacewing all must be shown in the Yellowface class because of the order of priority.

Now, some advice for the newly qualified judges who will be judging at championship shows and will have to fill in paper work and challenge certificates. If you follow the above reasoning then describing a bird on a challenge certificate would be an easy task. Just remember how birds are described in the Colour Standards book.

There are one or two markers for your assistance. Always start the description of the bird with the actual challenge certificate that you are awarding it to with the body colour and sex last (sex has its own line on the C.C.).

So a winning bird in group 14 will be Spangle Cobalt hen (for example). If the bird is a double factor then the description will be for example Double Factor Spangle Yellowface White cock. Here you see that because the bird is a composite bird I described it with the spangle first because that is what the C.C. is awarded for then the other variety with the body colour and sex last. Other composite combinations can be:

Dominant Pied Opaline Cinnamon Grey cock
Dominant Pied Opaline Cinnamon Yellowface Grey cock

Here you see the bird has been described by its C.C. first then the order of the composite varieties as per classification with the body colour and sex last.

Other examples can follow using the above logic:

Yellowface Albino cock
Yellowface Opaline Lacewing White hen
Lacewing Opaline Yellow cock
Circular Crest Opaline Cinnamon Dominant Pied Yellowface Violet cock
Clearbody Opaline Grey Green hen
Clearbody Opaline White cock

And so on.

One other thing to remember is the correct way of writing the ring number of the winning bird on the C.C. Again look at page 8 of the current Rule Book under Open Show Patronage Condition 22(v) which tells you that recording of rings should be in the order of code number, serial number and year. The example shown under that section is that a bird's ring details will be recorded as A1234/70/94. Sometimes a code will have more than one letter as well as an area society code. For example my area society London & Southern Counties BS has the prefix LS written sideways so the above ring details should be recorded as LSA1234/70/94 for example. However, the maximum digits a code can have (including the area code) are 6. Some judges/fanciers will record the above ring as 70/A1234/94. This is because it is how the ring details are inscribed when you rotate the ring to record its details but this is not the way it must be recorded on the C.C.

Only birds wearing the official closed coded rings purchased through the Budgerigar Society office are eligible for winning challenge certificates as long as the owner/exhibitor is a current B.S. member and has nominated so on his/her entry form.

I do hope that the above comments will assist both the newcomers to the hobby as well as the newly qualified judges in their tasks ahead.

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Copyright Ghalib Al-Nasser 2002 all rights reserved.