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All pictures (except that of W.F. Hollander, which is credited to F. Mosca) are used by permission of Dr. Axel Sell.
Almond History & Description 
by 
Ken Davis
I originally wrote this article as a favor for John Skistimas, the Mid-West Director of the United Oriental Roller Asso. 
 
Throughout the years the color almond has been typically associated with English Short-Faced Tumblers, so we may refer to this breed as the example of standard show quality Classic Almond coloration. These birds basically exhibit a rich "burnt-orange" ground color from head to toe, and are liberally sprinkled with black or kite (dark colored), flecking. 
W. F. Hollander, Ph. D. photo by Frank Mosca

In his book, Origins and Excursions in Pigeon Genetics,  Dr. Willard F. Hollander offers the following on page 63: "Most breeders know almond as a scrambled patchwork of colors - yellowish, blue, black, brown, red, white, etc. It is the variegated effect which impresses us, not really the almond (yellowish) portion of the effect. the German names "gesprenkel" (sprinkled), "vielfarbig" or "Harlekin" (varicolored), and the Danish terms "stipper" and "stankede" (speckled) convey the same thought. In Italian, the term "magnano" (plural, magnani) has the same meaning, but is applied to Modenas of such coloration. the original meaning of magnano is clear; it also means "coppersmith". (The French term "magnan" may be a clue - "silkworm'). Silkworms have a variegated color pattern, and Italians also raised silkworms.

Similarly, in his book, Breeding and Inheritance on page 74, Axel Sell writes: "Almond is another mutant color factor on the sex-chromosome. It dominates the wild factor + and was given the symbol St by Christie and Wtiedt because the German name for the color is sprinlkel (gesprenkelt) = sprinkled. Almond is very popular in a lot of different breeds and has a long tradition in breeds like the English Short-Faced Tumbler; Oriental Roller; Danish Tumbler and Modena. It is also available in Chinese Owls. Fantails, Jacobins etc".

From these two authors we can surmise that the German, Italian, French, and the Danish names given to the almond color factor all depict the "flecking" or "break" associated with almond pigeons. However the term or name "almond" was given to the pigeon  because of the similarity of the "base" or "ground" color of the bird to that of the shell of an almond nut, (see Fulton 1876, page 138). Now, to bring the two together, the beak and the ground color, we can again take a passage from Axel Sell. Breeding and Inheritance in Pigeons, page 75;

English Short-Faced Tumbler    "The American Standard describes the Almond of the Short-Faced Tumbler as follows: "The ground color should be deep, rich, sound yellow, rump and thighs same color as shoulders, evenly spangled with rich black. The flights and tail feathers should show the three distinct colors, i.e., yellow, black, and white, which should be in patches and clearly defined. the color of the beak should be flesh colored" (National Pigeon Association 1979). 

There were always different opinions concerning the proper ground color. Fulton preferred the outside of the shell of an old almond nut from where the name was derived. In old nuts, the shell of which has begun to molder away or become crumbly, is seen a deep rich, but not reddish yellow color, which is our idea of the proper ground" (Fulton 1876, page 138). Further, Sell writes: "Almonds are very sensitive in respect to changes in genetic structure and not all combinations with other color factors have been described or even tried. Some of the results are known as typical colorations in certain breeds. Thus the Magnani of the Modena and the Stipper and silver "sprinkled" of the Oriental Roller are variants of the Almond coloration.

Spread Almond (Grey) Stipper   The gray stippers of the Danish Tumbler and the sprinkles of the Oriental Roller are lacking the factor for recessive red and in addition carry the spread factor. Spread in not available in the classical almond coloration and has the effect of whitening the plumage because spread masks bronzing"...... "It is also possible to raise almonds on a brown or ash-red ground color. Those birds instead of the black flecks show ash-red or brown flecks and may not be as attractive".

"So you see, it is possible to breed any color of almond. However, for classification purposes, standards must be drawn up as to what is present, as well as what is preferred.

 

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