'The Pigeon Book' by Mr. B.P. Brent 1859 page 41.) Neumeister describes a breed of a black colour with white bars on the wing and a white crescent-shaped mark on the breast; these marks are generally rusty-red before the first moult, but after the third or fourth moult they undergo a change; the wing- feathers and the crown of the head likewise then become white or grey. (5/30. 'Die staarhalsige Taube. Das Ganze, etc.' s. 21 tab. 1. figure 4.)
It is an important fact, and I believe there is hardly an exception to the rule, that the especial characters for which each breed is valued are eminently variable: thus, in the Fantail, the number and direction of the tail-feathers, the carriage of the body, and the degree of trembling are all highly variable points; in Pouters, the degree to which they pout, and the shape of their inflated crops; in the Carrier, the length, narrowness, and curvature of the beak, and the amount of wattle; in Short-faced Tumblers, the shortness of the beak, the prominence of the forehead, and general carriage (5/31. 'A Treatise on the Almond-Tumbler' by J.M. Eaton 1852 page 8 et passim.), and in the Almond-Tumbler the colour of the plumage; in common Tumblers, the manner of tumbling; in the Barb, the breadth and shortness of the beak and the amount of eye-wattle; in Runts, the size of body; in Turbits the frill; and lastly in Trumpeters, the cooing, as well as the size of the tuft of feathers over the nostrils. These, which are the distinctive and selected characters of the several breeds, are all eminently variable.
There is another interesting fact with respect to the characters of the several breeds, namely, that they are often most strongly displayed in the male bird. In Carriers, when the males and females are exhibited in separate pens, the wattle is plainly seen to be much more developed in the males, though I have seen a hen Carrier belonging to Mr. Haynes heavily wattled. Mr. Tegetmeier informs me that, in twenty Barbs in Mr. P.H. Jones's possession, the males had generally the largest eye-wattles; Mr. Esquilant also believes in this rule, but Mr. H. Weir, a first-rate judge, entertains some doubt on the subject. Male Pouters distend their crops to a much greater size than do the females; I have, however, seen a hen in the possession of Mr. Evans which pouted excellently; but this is an unusual circumstance. Mr. Harrison Weir, a successful breeder of prize Fantails, informs me that his male birds often have a greater number of tail-feathers than the females. Mr. Eaton asserts (5/32. 'A Treatise, etc.' page 10.) that if a cock and hen Tumbler were of equal merit, the hen would be worth double the money; and as pigeons always pair, so that an equal number of both sexes is necessary for reproduction, this seems to show that high merit is rarer in the female than in the male. In the development of the frill in Turbits, of the hood in Jacobins, of the tuft in Trumpeters, of tumbling in Tumblers, there is no difference between the males and females. I may here add a rather different case, namely, the existence in France (5/33. Boitard and Corbie 'Les Pigeons' etc. 1824 page 173.) of a wine- coloured variety of the Pouter, in which the male is generally chequered with black, whilst the female is never so chequered. Dr. Chapuis also remarks (5/34. 'Le Pigeon Voyageur Belge' 1865 page 87. I have given in my 'Descent of Man' 6th edition page 466 some curious cases, on the authority of Mr. Tegetmeier, of silver-coloured (i.e. very pale blue) birds being generally females, and of the ease with which a race thus characterised could be produced. Bonizzi (see 'Variazioni dei Columbi domestici' Padova 1873) states that certain coloured spots are often different in the two sexes, and the certain tints are commoner in females than in male pigeons.) that in certain light-coloured pigeons the males have their feathers striated with black, and these striae increase in size at each moult, so that the male ultimately becomes spotted with black. With Carriers, the wattle, both on the beak and round the eyes, and with Barbs that round the eyes, goes on increasing with age.