Mr. Wicking bred blue Fantails from two black birds. Carriers (including the Bagadotten of Neumeister) with all the marks: two birds which I examined had white, and two had blue croups; the white edging to the outer tail-feathers was not present in all. Mr. Corker, a great breeder, assures me that, if black carriers are matched for many successive generations, the offspring become first ash-coloured, and then blue with black wing-bars. Runts of the elongated breed had the same marks, but the croup was pale blue; the outer tail-feathers had white edges. Neumeister figures the great Florence Runt of a blue colour with black bars. Jacobins are very rarely blue, but I have received authentic accounts of at least two instances of the blue variety with black bars having appeared in England; blue Jacobins were bred by Mr. Brent from two black birds. I have seen common Tumblers, both Indian and English, and Short-faced Tumblers, of a blue colour, with black wing-bars, with the black bar at the end of the tail, and with the outer tail-feathers edged with white; the croup in all was blue, or extremely pale blue, never absolutely white. Blue Barbs and Trumpeters seem to be excessively rare; but Neumeister, who may be implicitly trusted, figures blue varieties of both, with black wing-bars. Mr. Brent informs me that he has seen a blue Barb; and Mr. H. Weir, as I am informed by Mr. Tegetmeier, once bred a silver (which means very pale blue) Barb from two yellow birds.), of blue birds with black bars on the wing, with the croup either white or very pale or dark blue, with the tail having a terminal black bar, and with the outer feathers externally edged with white or very pale coloured, in the following races, which, as I carefully observed in each case, appeared to be perfectly true: namely, in Pouters, Fantails, Tumblers, Jacobins, Turbits, Barbs, Carriers, Runts of three distinct varieties, Trumpeters, Swallows, and in many other toy-pigeons, which as being closely allied to C. livia, are not worth enumerating. Thus we see that, in purely-bred races of every kind known in Europe, blue birds occasionally appear having all the marks which characterise C. livia, and which concur in no other wild species. Mr. Blyth, also, has made the same observation with respect to the various domestic races known in India.

Certain variations in the plumage are equally common in the wild C. livia, in dovecote-pigeons, and in all the most highly modified races. Thus, in all, the croup varies from white to blue, being most frequently white in Europe, and very generally blue in India. (6/25. Mr. Blyth informs me that all the domestic races in India have the croup blue; but this is not invariable, for I possess a very pale blue Simmali pigeon with the croup perfectly white, sent to me by Sir W. Elliot from Madras. A slaty-blue and chequered Nakshi pigeon has some white feathers on the croup alone. In some other Indian pigeons there were a few white feathers confined to the croup, and I have noticed the same fact in a carrier from Persia. The Java Fantail (imported into Amoy, and thence sent me) has a perfectly white croup.) We have seen that the wild C. livia in Europe, and dovecotes in all parts of the world, often have the upper wing-coverts chequered with black; and all the most distinct races, when blue, are occasionally chequered in precisely the same manner. Thus I have seen Pouters, Fantails, Carriers, Turbits, Tumblers (Indian and English), Swallows, Bald-pates, and other toy-pigeons blue and chequered; and Mr. Esquilant has seen a chequered Runt. I bred from two pure blue Tumblers a chequered bird.

The facts hitherto given refer to the occasional appearance in pure races of blue birds with black wing-bars, and likewise of blue and chequered birds; but it will now be seen that when two birds belonging to distinct races are crossed, neither of which have, nor probably have had during many generations, a trace of blue in their plumage, or a trace of wing-bars and the other characteristic marks, they very frequently produce mongrel offspring of a blue colour, sometimes chequered, with black wing-bars, etc.; or if not of a blue colour, yet with the several characteristic marks more or less plainly developed.

Charles Darwin

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