Now that many mysteries of the Gouldian Finch
are well on their way to being solved, the bird continues to
further tantalize us with mutations of extraordinary colors and
with patterns rivaling a color-by-the-numbers painting.
The Silver Gouldian is the most recent of these to become established
and available in the U.S.
The Silver color is the result of crossing the recessive blue mutation
with the yellow mutation. _ the yellow being co-dominant sex linked (a
guide to Gouldian Finches Sammut & Marshall, The Australian bird
The Silver mutation produced then apparently becomes sex linked co-dominant
also, with single and double factor birds being produced. Single factor
birds will be purple breasted Silver colored females or pastel blue (blue
dilute) males, or white breasted Silver males and females.
Purple Breasted males are double factor and some white-breasted male
Silvers may also be double factor.
Color mutations are often misnamed and this may well be the case here
since 'Silver' would indicate a gray hue. While there is
some variation in the predominant color of the Silver bird, the overall
effect is white with a slight suffusion of blue, primarily in older birds.
Color contrast is produced by the vivid blue line delineating the head
color and the peach-colored head in the red and yellow headed varieties.
The purple breast then becomes the focal point in a beautiful pastel
Black-headed dilute males (power blue) are possible, with the black head
becoming a deep gray/black color. However, the black head color, when
bred into the Silver birds, along with the recessive white-breasted mutation,
can produce the visual equivalent of an all while bird since the black
headedness on a true Silver will appear white. A while Gouldian can be
considered a fortunate or an unfortunate occurrence, depending on one’s
idea of beauty.
At hatching, Silver babies exhibit a pale whitish skin color. Just hatched
dilute blue males are darker skinned but still lighter than the recessive
Silver Gouldians, if bred responsibly, seem to be a mutation of good
health and extreme vigor. As with any mutation, closely related birds
should not be paired together.
While there can be little doubt that the original colors of the Gouldian
Finch are stunning, and there should be much effort to propagate a healthy
and hearty strain of the normal Gouldian, the mutation varieties are
a new challenge from a bird that has always been an avicultural fascination.