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Archangel Standard of Perfection

Adopted by the American Archangel Club



The American Archangel Club (AAC) promotes the breeding and exhibition of Archangel pigeons in ail esthetical pleasing combinations of colour hues, phases, patterns, and modifiers. The club was established to provide a communication link between persons interested in pursuing more than the English Archangel, German Gimple, or French Bouvreuil standards of perfection. MC has no constitution or by-laws and requires only a $5 annual membership tee. This information packet is the accepted rallying point for the society. Its contents are under constant scrutiny and revision by American Archangel breeders who are actively writing and exchanging ideas. The intention is to combine a standard of perfection with an up-to-date colour description that works equally well for the novice and expert pigeon fancier. It differs somewhat from the traditional show pigeon standard in that it does not spell out every detail of line and colour. The club certainly does not want to discourage any creative experimentation by its members.

Communication by letter or other means between members is constantly encouraged. A quarterly bulletin is issued by the secretary/treasurer, who keeps track of membership and activities. All club functions are intended to be an informal, relaxing retreat from stressful pressures of the modem world. Friendly competition in the form of live shows and photographic essays are encouraged whenever a group of members desire to organise it. Trophies, certificates and other awards may be given at these occasions, where friendship and common interest in Archangel genetics & husbandry are the major concerns. When AAC members participate in an all-breed show, they need to make certain that the Archangels are all caged in the same area and that a qualified, knowledgeable judge is provided. American Archangels require excellent lighting indoors or be placed outside in full natural light when judged or photographed.



HUES: Blue, Ash-red, and Brown

PHASES: Intense, Pale, and Dilute

PATTERNS: Barless, Bar, Light check, Check, Dark check, T-pattern

MODIFIERS: All colour modifications net listed above

MARKINGS: Show classes for Archangels may be set up based on the markings of the birds that are present -- such as black wing, blue wing, white wing, ash-red wing, brown wing, bronze wing, stencil wing, opal wing, recessive-red wing, reduced wing, grizzle wing, almond wing, calmed wing, indigo wing, milky wing, ice wing, white-flight, white-tail, priest-marked, or monk-marked.

ORNAMENTS: The Peak crest develops at the back 0f the shoulders and runs Up to the apex, where it forms a sharp conical point upon the head. This point should be positioned high up, and formed se that from the shoulders to the peak, it resembles an, even straight edge. There should be no breaks along the ridge of the crest. A line drawn on the side 0f the head, tram the center of the beak through the pupil of the eye, should strike the crest ridge about midway. The peak should be symmetrically balanced in the center of the back of the head. In no case should the peak crest lean to one side or have any indication of crookedness. A 5 points incentive for developing peak crests is given during exhibition. Plain-headed Archangels are characterised by the absence of feather omamentation.

BODY: A good Archangel body is about 13 inches (33cm) or smaller, trams the tip of the beak to the end of the tail. This is slightly smaller than the wild Rock Pigeon, and when everything else is equal in the show pen, the smaller bird should win the class. Archangels are close feathered, erect in stations, dean legged and alert in appearance. The body s fairly broad in the chest and gently narrowing back to the tail. A short tail is preferable to a long one. The wings lie nicely upon the tail, with the tips net completely reaching the end, and not crossing. The head is lightly curved, having a longish, narrow beak with a dove-like nasal cere. The eyes should be vivid; the iris being orange when genetically possible except in priest and monk-marked birds, where it is black (brown hue results in a "false pearl" eye). The eye cere is flesh coloured and only slightly developed.




PIGMENT: A double hereditary dose of archangel bronze (coming tram bath parents) in intense phase birds, produces a protein substance in the chest feathers that reflects the reddish-brown portion of the visible light spectrum. This is the colour we see. With pale phase, the visible light reflected back is gold, and with dilute phase we see more of a yellow tone. The addition of other colour factors also interacts with the light that is reflected. The amount of this protein pigment is variable and archangel breeders keep only those birds that exhibit the highest quantity. Eventually, after several generations of careful selection, on large amount of pigment is accumulated until the desired cluster is obtained. The luster extends over the head, neck, breast, belly, upper legs and down to the hock feathers.

IRIDESCENCE: This lustrous play 0f colour on an Archangel is a result of the diffraction of light, reflected trams the ribbed surface of the plumage. Like the pigment, iridescence can also be genetically manipulated through careful selection to produce a complementary sheen. In American Archangels, the key term is "complementary". With intense phase, the body feathers of most Archangels are best complemented with red iridescence to make a brightened copper colour, pink iridescence seems to go best with pale, and yellow iridescence compliments dilute phase. With some colours combinations however, the judge must determine which iridescent sheen is the most complimentary to the Archangel pigment present. With the addition of dominant-opal, some bizarre things happen so that even sibling may have different expressions. lridescence is equally important in other body areas of Archangels, such as in T-pattern blue (black wing), where a beetle-green band occurs at the ends of each wing covert and on the rump leathers. Generally speaking, the greater the widths of this iridescent band, the better.

GREASE QUILL: Even though it seems to be independent from colour inheritance, archangel bronze greatly benefits tram a genetic trait called grease quill. This trait results in an abnormal fluff mainly along the sides of the body to the tail. The fluff is unable to expand and resembles a row of quills or pinfeathers. Attempts to open these feathers show that the parts are stuck together with a waxy material, usually yellowish in colour. This waxy substance is spread over the feathers during preening, which adds an additional brilliance to the plumage.




COMBINATIONS: A colour combination in Archangels is defined as the selected expression et archangel bronze plus hue, phase, pattern, modifiers and markings blended together on a particular bird. It is required that each colour combination have archangel bronze at its base and be as uniform, clear and well defined as possible.


HUES: All pigeons are of three basic colour hues. They are (1) blue, (2) ash-red, and (3) brown. The three colours hues are "sex-linked". Brown can hide under blue in cocks. Ash-red cocks may carry either brown or blue, but never both at once. Hens are either ash-red, blue, or brown. The same hen can never carry more than one colour hue (thus the aid saying, "hens are what they are"). Archangel breeders should know and keep a record of the hues of their birds, as well as the rest of the colour combination. The basic colour hues by themselves are easily recognised and widely known. Other factors in the colour combination may combine to camouflage the hue however.


PHASES: There are also three basic colours phases in pigeons. These may be effectively hidden by modifiers as well. They are (1) intense, (2) pale, and (3) dilute. Archangel breeders should know the colour phase of each bird in their loft, and keep a record of it. Asking more experienced breeders the difference between phases in colour combinations is a good way to learn how to recognise them. A pedigree search is another way to reveal hidden colour phases. Intense is the normal wild-type phase that has been called "dark bronze’ or ‘copper" in Archangels. Pale lightens the entire colour on the bird slightly, and has historically been referred to as "light bronze’ or ‘gold." Unfortunately, this appellation does net allow for the third colour phase which is dilute. Dilute usually lightens the overall colour of the bird a bit more than pale, changing a blue to a silver’, ash-red to ash-yellow", brown to khaki, recessive-red to ‘recessive yellow, etc. True "dun" for instance, is dilute black (spread blue). Dilute has always been a very popular phase in all pigeon breeds and is a necessary addition to the Archangel fancy. Colour phases are also sex-linked. Hens need only one dose of pale or dilute to show it (they need only to inherit it tram ono parent), whereas cocks need two doses (they must inherit it tram bath parents). When a pale cock is mated to an intense hen, all the pale offspring will automatically be hens, and ail the intense offspring will be cocks (carrying pale but net showing it). In the came manner, when a dilute cock is mated to an intense or pale hen, ail the dilute offspring will be hens, and the intense or pale offspring will be cocks (carrying dilute but not showing it).


PATTERNS: American Archangels are made up of six basic colour patterns. They are (1) barless, (2) bar, (3) light check, (4) check, (5) dark check, and (6) T-pattern. Colour patterns are NOT sex-linked, therefore bath hens and cocks have two doses. The darker patterns generally hide the lighter ones and they can also be hidden by colour modifiers. So it is essential to keep a record of pedigree for pattern as well as colour hue and phase if you want to predict with any accuracy what you may get tram a mating. T-pattern sometimes causes contusion. For many years, T-pattern (black wing) Archangels were thought to be true black (spread blue). Black wings are NOT genetically black even though they may look it. The spread factor in true black Archangels alters the archangel bronze so that it appears somewhat different from that of a black wing T-pattern.


MODIFIERS: Spread is a modifier that moves the pattern colour over the entire bird in blues and browns, but causes variable effects in ash-reds. One dose of spread (coming from one parent only) will work most of the time but two doses does a much better job. Spread blues are called "true-blacks", or black firebird. Historically, excellent quality true-blacks was kept as stock birds by the master breeders to produce better black wings for exhibition. This was a well-kept secret, but unfortunately the term black wing has remained while the breeding technique is neatly forgotten. It was once thought impossible to produce good Archangel bronze on black. Careful selection has oroven this notion false however. True black Archangels are beautiful, and deserve to be shown. Spread browns are called "ebony wings" or "brown firebird" by some fanciers. Dark check and T-pattern ash-red spread birds are called "mahogany wings," and light ash-red spread birds showing little or no pattern are called "lavender wings. Ash-red spread also causes many colour variations between mahogany and lavender that are not acceptable because they do not hold with the commitment to clarity and definition.


Dirty darkens the entire colour somewhat. One dose is all that is necessary. It can usually b. recognised by the black coloured beak, toes, legs, and skin of squabs carrying it. Dirty is useful to enhance some colour combinations but interferes with the clarity and definition of others. It works well with black wing, brander-bronze wing, and recessive-red wing.


Smoky is unique in that it darkens most of the coloured areas of the bird, but it also lightens the beak, lest, and tips of the tail. It is believed that two doses are necessary for smoky to show. Smoky squeekers are quite easily identified by the dark band at the end of the beak, and their mask-like appearance. Smoky s especially useful in combinations where a clear beak is desired on a dark coloured bird. Because most American Archangels carry this colour factor, it is difficult to get good dean blue, ash-red, and brown barless or barred wings.

One dose of the sooty factor wilt usually smudge up the pattern, causing barred birds to look like poor checkered ones, for example. This adds to the difficulty of breeding good blue wing Archangels after crossing on to black wings. In black wings, true-blacks, red-wings and others, sooty is used as a darkening factor. It is also useful in other combinations to improve the colour, such as grizzle and faded. Sooty is not pretty by itself however.

One of the indigo modifiers’ effects is to lighten the light and tail feather tips. One dose of this factor also gives the pattern a red colour and so it’s easy to mistake for ash-red. Two doses generally turn the wings and tail nearly white. In other pigeon breeds (where archangel bronze is net present) two does of indigo produce a coloured head on a nearly white bird. In combination with Archangel bronze however, the body will maintain to colour. Indigo look good on black wing Archangels and true blacks, where it produces "andalusian wings" or "andalusian firebird". In this case, the complementary iridescence is blue rather than green Blue barless or barred blue wings with one dose of indigo are also very pretty. Another popular colour combination in Archangels is two doses of indigo plus archangel bronze in the windshield (which sometimes occurs on blue wings). This makes the bronze appear to float on top of bath the pattern and background of the wing. In American Archangels, indigo combined with toy-stencil gives a bronze outline to the white pattern.

Modena-bronze may be produced on Archangels in the same myriad of colour combinations found in the modena breed of pigeons. It is therefore an exciting avenue of genetic exploration. One dose is usually all that is necessary. Modena-bronze wings may be consistently mated to toy-stencil wings, in which case some of the offspring will have a bronze pattern and some will be stencilled.

Another type of bronze wing results from brander-bronze. This factor is helpful to the make-up of good almond wing Archangels. Two doses of brander-bronze are needed and other modifiers such as dirty and recessive-red help. Pale and dilute blue (silver) branderbronze Archangels are called "sulphur wings.

Toy-stencil is fast becoming on. of the most popular American Archangel modifiers. One dose of toy-stencil usually produces a modena-bronze wing, so it must come from both parents (two doses) to express itself. When a modena-bronze wing is mated to a stencil wing, half of the offspring are expected to be bronze wings and half stencil wings. However, this is a mathematical rule that holds true only when large numbers of offspring are produced. Toy-stencil is one of the few modifiers that will show up through spread and recessive-red, so that it is possible to get white patterned black wings, brown wings, and recessive-red wings. There is nothing-quite se beautiful as a stencilled wing in contrast with an archangel bronze body that has been selectively intensified. The outside edge of each white stencilled area should be clearly outlined with the complementary hue of the colour combination. A "white-bar" stencil wing archangel is produced from bar pattern; light check stencil wings are called "marbled"; check stencil wings are called "spangled; and dark check & T-pattern stencil wings are called faced. Toy-stencil does not show on a barless pattern bird (even though it is present in the genetic makeup).

Oriental-frill stencil is actually a combination of toy-stencil plus a factor that effects the tail bar as well, turning it white. Toy-Stencil wing Archangels have a tail bar that coincides with the colour hue, whereas oriental-frill stencil wings have a white tail bar (except with spread, where the tail is usually laced).

The dominant-opal modifier tends to lighten the patterned areas, and it also may turn the archangel expression to a lovely cream colour. However, there is really no predicting exactly what dominant-opal will do because of its variability. It may even change the pattern to bronze or to white. One dose of dominant-opal is all that is needed with most colour combinations. Actually two doses of dominant-opal is lethal and the embryos usually die within the egg. Dominant-opal looks best on the blue hue. It can be distinguished from modena-bronze or toy-stencil by its faded tail bar and ends of the flights. Dominant-opal is interesting to work with because no two birds seem to be exactly alike.

Recessive-opal also lightens the barred and chequered areas. The main difference between its expression and that of dominant opal is that two doses of recessive-opal are necessary to show on the bird. it is covered up by most colour combinations and therefore will skip generations, but it produces many variable and beautiful delicate tones. Recessive-opal goes best on blue hues. It is sometimes mistaken for dominant opal or toy stencil.

Recessive-red is the well-known "self red modifier that is being widely bred in the pigeon tansy today. Two doses are necessary to completely cover up other colour factors. Even with two doses, many variations occur but it s a very powerful cover-up factor which in most cases will completely hide the basic hue, pattern, and almost ail other modifiers except the stencils. One dose of recessive-red on dark blue check or T-pattern usually masks a kind 0f "kite." One dose of it on ash-red makes a dusky, dirty ash-red. Recessive-red differ tram ash-red in that it colours the entire bird to the ends of the tail and flights, whereas ash-red makes ash-white tail and flight feathers. It is important to note that the recessive-red pigment is different enough from archangel bronze that visual definition is possible. A deep, rich, uniform recessive-red colour covering the wing plus a good copper-red archangel bronze body is a real breeding challenge that some dedicated Archangel fancier could spend his lifetime trying to perfect. Historically, good recessive-red Archangels (called "red firebird") have been kept as stock birds to use when better body colours desired.

Reduced is a modifier that also lightens the entire colour and it requires two doses to show on cocks. Since it is linked to the sex chromosome like hue and phase, a single dose is ail that is needed En hens (hens only have one sex chromosome, cocks have two). Reduced is therefore considered being a sex linked trait like phase. It is beautiful on black wings, where it creates a blue stencilled effect. Reduced black wings are sometimes confused with toy-stencils or with dominant opals. Spread reduced wing firebirds (true blacks) are also very pretty

The grlzzle modifier causes "salted and peppered areas on the feathers. The best looking grizzles are bar pattern. Some modifiers such as spread may nearly cover up grizzle but it is usually a very powerful factor. One dose of grizzle works best on Archangels. Two dose results in a white stork wing (white with coloured flights and tail bar). It is very difficult to maintain good archangel bronze on grizzle and especially on Stork wings. When large numbers of offspring are obtained from grizzle X grizzle matting, 1/4 will be stork wings.

Pencil is the modifier that is used to produce Breast Pigeons but white wing Archangels can benefit from it as well. White wings may be mated to clean-legged Breast Pigeons to help dean up the white En the windshield. With this formula, it Es possible to produce beautiful! white wings as well as better coloured Breast Pigeons where bath breeds are kept together. Most of the time, the double dose et pencil leaves a coloured edging on the wing feathers in the fledglings but will disappear in adults, so that the wings appear to be pure white. Ash-red barless Archangels (without pencil) are sometimes called "Ivory wings" because they are nearly white winged but not completely so.

Ice lightens the background colour without greatly changing the pattern. One dose of ice will lighten the background somewhat, but two doses whiten Et more and coke better. Excellent quality ice wings are especially useful for cleaning up sooty, smoky, and even dirty background problems. Ice looks best on blue and brown Archangels but beautiful ash-red ice wings have been produced as well. Blue and brown barless ice wings will have coloured flights and tail bars, but ash-red barless ice wings are nearly identical to white wings.

Almond is another one of those highly variable but powerful modifiers like dominant-opal, recessive-red, and grizzle. It generally changes the overall appearance of the bird and is difficult to keep on the wing and out of the Archangel bronze areas the came as grizzle is. However, good almond wings Archangels are simply dazzling ! The major thrust of almond is to lighten, but it also puts dark patches of colour at random over the plumage. Almond added to Archangels that do nets have bronze En the wing are called "magnani wings". The classical almond that everyone seems to want can easily be created using a blue wing that has the archangel bronze in the wingshield, or with a brander-bronze wing. One dose of almond is all that is needed, and in fact most of the cocks with two doses are mostly white and may have a blind eye condition which forces their being culled. Hem can only carry one doses of almond. It therefore works just like phase and reduced En being a sex linked modifier. Almond hens mated to non-almond cocks always produce almond cock and non-almond hen offspring. Blue almonds have blue flecks, brown almonds have brown flecks, and ash-red almonds have ash-red coloured flecks in the plumage.

Qualmond is a factor that switches with almond on the came chromosome. Therefore, it is similar to almond in many ways. However, the Archangel bronze is easier to maintain with qualmond, and it creates a gray background on the wing that is acceptable without using a brander-bronze or an Archangel-bronze wing. Qualmond is sex linked just like almond. One dose is all that is necessary for the trait to show. Cocks with two doses of qualmond are nearly white like magnani almonds, but they do net seem to have the blind eye problem.

Faded switches with almond or with qualmond on the same chromosome se it is also sex linked.It is another modifier that lightens the overall colour of the bird. Brown faded wing Archangels are absolutely exquisite, being a kind of orange colour. Faded is referred to as "autosexing" because whens with two doses are easily distinguished tram cocks. Like qualmond, The blind eye condition in net usually a problem in faded birds.