The Beautiful Spangle Budgie

The Spangle budgie is one of my favourites! They can look quite stunning, but often the markings are faded and partially missing, which I find very saddening…

skblue spangle budgie

The Spangle comes in two forms, the Single Factor and the Double Factor Spangle. The Single Factor has just one Spangle gene whilst the Double Factor has two. For now I will just discuss the physical appearance of each.

The Single Factor has the markings on the wings, the throat spots and the tail feathers altered. The wing feathers appear to have a black edge with either a yellow or white center, and are often described as having the normal markings reversed. I do not like this description as it is clear when looking at a Spangle budgie that the feathers still have the white or yellow edge, then a thin black pencil line, then the center of the feather is yellow or white.

double factor and single factor spangle budgies

The throat spots are often all or partly missing but if present look like targets, with a yellow or white center. The long tail feathers can be like the wing feathers with a thin line near the edge, or they may be plain white, yellow or solid dark blue as in a Normal.

The double factor Spangle is a pure white or yellow bird, though sometimes with a slight suffusion of body color.

Both types of Spangle have normal dark eyes with a white iris ring ceres. Their feet and legs can be grey or fleshy pink, and they can have either violet or silvery white cheek patches (or a mixture of both).The double factor Spangle on the right shows the dark eye, with an iris ring, that distinguishes it from both Albinos (would have a red eye) and Dark Eyed Clears (would have a dark eye without an iris ring).

skyblue normal and cobalt spangle opaline budgerigars
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Spangle can combine with any other variety to create many lovely mixes. Spangle Opalines are common and can vary a lot in their appearance. The markings are reduced over the head and shoulders, and the body color is present on the wings. The budgies above are a Normal Skyblue and a Cobalt Spangle Opaline. The Spangle Opaline has lost some of its markings and has a lot of cobalt on the wings.

grey green spangle opaline budgie

On the right is a Grey Green Spangle Opaline. It has heavier than usual markings for a Spangle (which I really like) and less body color on the wings.

Below is a Skyblue Spangle Yellow Face Type 2, a nice shot of the spangle markings showing how you can get the occasional heavily marked feather sneaking through!

Spangle Genetics

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Spangle is an incomplete dominant gene. This means it has three forms, the Non-spangle (Normal), the Single Factor Spangle and the Double Factor Spangle. See the incomplete dominance page.

So the inheritance of Spangles goes as follows:

Normal x Single Factor Spangle:
- 50% Normal
- 50% Single Factor Spangle

Single Factor Spangle x Single Factor Spangle
- 25% Normal
- 50% Single Factor Spangle
- 25% Double Factor Spangle

Single Factor Spangle x Double Factor Spangle
- 50% Single Factor Spangle
- 50% Double Factor Spangle

Double Factor Spangle x Double Factor Spangle
- 100% Double Factor Spangle

The Spangle genetics look simple on paper but in reality it sometimes does not act as expected. It would seem there is more to Spangle inheritance to be discovered, which makes it lots of fun!

violet cinnamon spangle yellow face 2
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The last picture is a Violet Cinnamon Spangle Yellow Face Type 2. The markings are a lighter brown shade. I usually feel that this detracts from the Spangles beauty but this is one lovely bird!

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