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Basic Pigeon Genetic Information with photos of rare colored homing pigeons.  

Hi:   My name is Ronald Huntley.    I’m both a lover of pigeons and an amateur genetic nut.   I wanted to understand why some pigeons are one color while others are so different.   In the process of learning the answer to this puzzle, I read pigeon books, pamphlets, made phone calls and yes I did send tons of e-mails searching out the answer to my questions.    In so doing, it became obvious to me that good clear color photos with accompanying information were needed to aid in the description process.   At about the same time my lovely wife Patricia gave me a digital camera.   With camera in hand, I was off to the pigeon loft where I begin taking photos to go along with the information I was complying.  

I decided not to make a private journal but rather to display it here on the web so others, like you, could also benefit from it.    This gave me three more hobbies to pursue; photography, website design and genetics.

You could say this website is my book report on pigeon genetics.   Just putting it together has helped me to understand this subject more fully.    I hope you too will find it just as helpful and interesting.  For me, it’s an ongoing project; so stay tuned.  This website will grow slowly but grow it will.    I hope you find it to your satisfaction.

Now before I begin, I want to thank all the genetic researchers for their keen insight and hard work in documenting their many studies and findings. Their untiring efforts have made it possible for a layperson like me to share in this knowledge.   

I want to thank the late Dr. Willard F. Hollander for his lifetime of dedicated genetic research; for his many books and articles published; and for personally taking the time to answer my phone calls, letters and emails.  Doc, as his admirers so affectionately called him, passed away in January 2004 at the age of 90.    All that knew, respected and loved him will now miss him.  I feel honored to have been able to introduce my Grandson Michael to such a giant pigeon legend as Doc.

I also wish to thank my friend Dr. Lester Paul Gibson for his excellent book.  His many years in editing the Pigeon Genetics, News, Views, & Comments news letter.   For his tireless efforts in answering mine and so many other’s pigeon genetic questions and emails.

To the late Joseph W. Quinn for his many observations, books, CD’s volumes of research data and personnel time so freely given.  To his lovely wife Mary for allowing Joe to spend time chewing the fat with so many of us pigeon nuts.  Joe is truly missed by all who’s lives he touched and he touched so many both within the sport of pigeons and elsewhere.  A combat infantry officer, Korean War veteran, teacher and pigeon nut; a  true legend of a man.   

To Paul P. Cook, Jr. for his book Genetics Made Simple.   

To Bob Mangile for his research data and pigeon genetic website.   

To Frank Mosca for sparking my interest in this subject through his written articles, genetic website and many emails.

To Dr. Axel Sell, for his excellent book on pigeon genetics.   

To my friend and fellow genetic nut, Dr. Randal Herring for his generous donation of rare color homers and answers to my endless questions.

Last but not least, to my good friend Tom Barnhart who started the whole ball rolling by encouraging me to start this web site project.   I think Tom’s exact words to me were  “Ron your killing my email in-box!!”    “You need to set up a webpage for those photos so I can simply log in and see what you’re asking”.    To make a long story short, I did as Tom asked and this is the result.    I hope you all enjoy it.

These fine gentlemen and others, conducted the long years of research needed to determine what we now know about pigeon genetics.   It is from their hard work that I began to compiled these next few pages.   I would encourage anyone who desires to learn more about our birds’ genetics to make an effort to obtain copies of their works.


Information found on this website was obtained from the following reference source publications:

Origins and Excursions in Pigeon Genetics by Dr. W.F. Hollander.
Breeding and Inheritance in Pigeons by Dr. Axel Sell
Genetics Made Simple with special reference to Pigeons by Dr. Paul P Cook, Jr.
Genetics of Pigeons Columba Livia (Gmelin) by Dr. Lester Paul Gibson
An introduction to Pigeon Science and The Pigeon Breeder’s Notebook Feather, Form, and Flight both writen by my dear friend Joseph W. Quinn
Franks Mosca's Pigeon Genetics website
Tom Barnhart's Pigeon Genetics website
Bob Mangile's Genetic site website
Pigeon Genetics, News, Views & Comments by Dr. Lester P. Gibson, Editor

That's my Grandpa John R Huntley on the left back in 1916 with one of his prize racing homers.    I'm the guy in the center with my prize show winning hen.   She won best overall flown racer in the Carolina Pigeon Club 1999 show as well as best flown old hen.    My eldest Grandson Michael Bingham is on the right with his recessive red Russian Tumbler.  Michael is now a Civil Engineering, P.E., from Clemson University. He is now married with two daughters, living and working in Pennsylvania.   Between the three of us we make 100 plus years of pigeon flying, handling and showing.   It skips every other generation. I think that's kind of neat.  My other two grandsons Cory and Jake also like pigeons when they were kids but they live in an area where they sadly could not keep them.   So just to make sure they don't miss out on all the fun I always save some of the loft cleaning duties just for them.

When finished looking over my site’s material, please take a minute and visit my Links Page.   There you will find links to all the major pigeon organizations, supply outlets, pigeon publications, pedigree software and of course other pigeon genetic sites.    In addition, you'll find several pigeon clubs and individuals flyers web sites. Don’t forget thou to come back to this page when you're finished so you can choose one of the links on the Pigeon Web Ring.     Whatever you choose to do, I hope you enjoy it.

Now with your mouse pick a pigment color or a genetic subject and click on it.  It will take you, to that selected page:

Glossary of Genetic Terms

Genetic Symbols 

Chapter 1 - Sex, Chromosomes and Genes

Chapter 2 - Cell Reproduction, Mitosis, Meiosis and Crossovers 

Chapter 3 - Genetic Terms and Meanings 

Chapter 4 - The Ten Commandments of every Pedigree 

Brown (b).....the least dominant of the three true base colors

Blue (+).....the next dominant of the three and the original or wild type form

Ash Red (BA).....the most dominant of the three true base colors

The Pattern Series - every pigeon carries two genes for these.

Pale (d P) Dilute (d) and Extreme Dilute (d ex) - sex linked dilute color modifiers.

Lemon or Extreme Dilute (d ex) - an article jointly authored by Larry Davis and myself on this new mutation.

Reduced (r) and Rubella (rru) two sex linked color modifiers

Almond (St); Faded (StF); Qualmond (StQ); Hickory(StH); Sandy(StS); Frosty(StF) all sex linked color modifiers.

Opals(Od)Dominant Opal and (o) Recessive Opal   color modifiers

Grizzle(G)   color modifier

Indigo (In)   color modifier

Smokey (sy) also called Slate; Sooty (So) and Dirty (V)   color darkening modifiers

Spread   color modifier

Other Reds such as Recessive Red, Ash Red and Indigo red mimics 

Mosaic - What is a Mosaic?

Ember color modifier

Eye colors

Frequently asked questions.

A Review of Dr. W. F. Hollander's "The Inheritance of Blue"

The Blue Question   by Richard Cryberg

Microscopic Examination of the Pigment Found on WildType C. livia   by Richard Cryberg

Modena Bronze    by Richard Cryberg

Statistical Calculations Applied to Genetics    by Richard Cryberg

Biosynthesis of Eumelanin and Pheomelanin    by Richaed Cryberg
A link to Bob Mangile's web site for Richard Cryberg paper

Hyperflexible Wrist Joint in the Domestic Variety Serpastie Derived From C. livia   by Richard Cryberg and Grigoriy Zilberg

Genetics of Hyper Flex Wings in Skycutters    by Grigoriy Zilberg

Drizzle   by James Gratz dvm and Larry Long (posthumously)

Light Sensitivity of Pigeon Feathers   by Tim Kvidera

Naked Neck   by Dina Mergeani

The Pigeon Breeders Notebook, An Introduction to Pigeon Science - By J.W. Quinn - in pdf form for downloading a free copy.


Are Anne Ellis's “Odd Yellow” Monks Really Lemons? By – Tim Kvidera, February 2013 - in pdf form

Fulton's Book of Pigeons in pdf form.

A tribuite to Joseph W. Quinn

Sorry but I have no "Birds For Sale".


About Biology with Regina Bailey is a learning website. Click on this link and learn the “Basics in Genetic” from a non pigeon prospective.


Dr. Willard. F. Hollander always tried to make his pigeon genetics material as inexpensive and as available as possible.   In that spirit his son Paul Hollander has placed a pdf file of his NPA Information Booklet #1, Project on Genetics on the net for all to read or downolad.   Click here to view this booklet or download a free copy.

Download Warning -- 6 MB

During his life, Dr. Hollander, also known as Doc in our pigeon world, was involved in many pigeon related issues and or projects.    One such project was serving as the first editor for “The Pigeon Genetics News Letter” beginning with issue #1 dated January 1957 through issue # 40 dated October 1966.   Doc loved to teach and especially he loved teaching and explaining pigeon genetics.   What follows are transcribed copies of the original issues with only personal addresses and outdated references omitted.    These transcribed copies are made available thanks to the hard work of Dr. Richard Cryberg who took the pains taking steps to reconstruct them from print into computer text.  They are all here for interested viewers to study or copy.   I have grouped them into sets of ten issues per web page.    There is a short forward written by Dr. Cryberg followed by an index of topics for the entire set of 40 issues.    I hope you find them as interesting as I have.   I would also like to thank Dr. Cryberg for making this possible.   It goes without saying that we also owe our beloved late friend Dr. Hollander our deepest gratitude for his life's work in genetics and pigeons.   

Thank you Doc, may your legacy and words of knowledge live on.

The Pigeon Genetics News Letter Forward by Richard Cryberg followed by the Index of Issues
The Pigeon Genetics News Letter   I ssues  1 thru 10  
by Dr. Willard Hollander
The Pigeon Genetics News Letter   Issues 11 thru 20   by Dr. Willard Hollander
The Pigeon Genetics News Letter  Issues 21 thru 30    by Dr. Willard Hollander
The Pigeon Genetics News Letter  Issues 31 thru 40    by Dr. Willard Hollander

Pigeon Links, National Organizations, Publications and other related pigeon information

Click here for CARE OF A LOST PIGEON and how to find its owner

A PIGEON GENETICS CALCULATOR by Henk Meijers of Holland.    This calculator works out the basic color possibilities for you.    It’s still a work in progress and will be improved over time.   It’s a great help just the same.     Click here and check it out.

Advanced Genetics Wizard Genetics Wizard "G. Wiz" A little program by Barry C. Nielsen to calculate your statistical probabilities for one or more genetic factors based upon a large number of offspring.   This really does work great and I recommend it to anyone who needs  to work out the possibilities of breeding for genetic traits.

      Chevita Gmbh is a German / Austrian pharmaceutical company engaged in the development and manufacture of animal health products.   They have an excellent website for pigeon related diseases and recommend treatments.  There you will find a list of symptoms and treatment for just about every medical problem that may arise in your loft.   It’s a great source of information.    I strongly recommend all pigeon breeders become familiar with the services they provide. Click here and check it out.

                Click here for Symptoms for pigeon related illnesses.

        If you have questions related to a pigeons health, flying performance and nutrition, Pigeon Vitality is another great source of information.   I strongly recommend fanciers become familiar with this website also. Click here and check it out.

 The Medical Formulary compiled several years ago by a group of veterinarians; linked to here at This is an excellent source of information on bird medications and proper dosages.

Click here for The Alberta Classic an informational web site for the Alberta Classic Young Bird Derby.   It is an excellent source of information on bird Navigation, Health and for those interested in Eye Sign.   I highly recommend reading the information on health issues given there.

My Trip to the 1999 National Young Bird Show in Louisville Kentucky
My Trip to the 1999 Carolina Pigeon Club Annual All Age Show in Greenville SC.
My Military Career

Next Page

Disclaimer:  I have no formal training in the area of genetics so I’m by no means an expert.    However, I do read as much published genetic information on pigeons as I can find and I take pleasure in discussing it with others who are more knowledgeable than I.  In addition, I observe carefully what I’ve seen in my birds and it's these observations and some conclusions along with what I've learned from others that I share with you, here on this site.  It’s done in hopes that it will aid you to both understand and put genetics to good use in your loft.


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Copyright 1999 by Ronald Huntley.
Permission is granted to download or copy for non-commercial individual use only.
The author retains all other rights under copyright.

Ronald R. Huntley

Web Page Designer
Duncan SC, 29334