South East Queensland Zebra 
Finch Society Inc.

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Non Standard Mutations


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Currently there are a number of mutations in the development stage. To date only a limited number have been bought before the Federation of Zebra Finch Societies Australia for evaluation. Some have been present for a number of years while others have only recently come to light; it is hoped that through careful and selective breeding management that most if not all of these new mutations will be available to Zebra Finch fanciers in the future.

 I have endeavored to list below these new mutations and where possible give a brief overview of the birds.



Developed by Mr Bruce Whiting, Fennel Bay, NSW from birds he bred from Isabels he received from Mr Ellis Thornley. It appears that the 'Caramel' is the Grey form of Isabel.



The 'Carabel' appeared in 1990 from Dilute Blue stock in the aviaries of Mr Ray Robinson, Brisbane, Qld and appeared like a darker version of Isabel. Breeding results to date put it in the Isabel family; but it is not know of its relationship to the 'Caramel'.

It is now accepted that the Caramel & Carabel are the SAME mutation. Currently the Carabel is accepted as an interim standard by Federation of Zebra Finch Societies of Australia. (April 2012)


Black-Bodied Dilute

These are 'dominant dilute' Zebra Finches, primarily Dilute Blue & Silver, that carry full black markings like a Black-Bodied Grey. These birds do not fit the current Black Bodied Standard but are the result of mating Black-Bodied Greys to Dominant Dilutes.



Developed by David and Marion Reese, Adelaide SA, in the early '90's after noticing an unusual cock bird in a fellow breeder’s aviary. Words cannot describe this unusual mutation (see attached photo) but basically it is a normal bird with white spotting on back & cheek lobes and the feathers on the cheek lobes stick out from the head. All other markings, except tail bars, are affected in some way.



A Black-Face cock bird was purchased from Allan's Bird Shop, Sydney in 1983 by Mr Greg Carey of Yass, NSW. Further breeding produced cock birds with orange feathers in the head and breast area, while some hens showed pale coloured cheek patches. Those original birds were almost lost but thanks to breeding results by Mark Rattenbury and Rhonda Payne, Yass, these birds have been saved. Ideal 'Reds' have all the black markings replaced by orange but most still carry some normal markings, while the hens show pale orange cheek patches.

In 2007 Federation of Zebra Finch Societies of Australia accepted the Red Chested, Red Bodied and Red Charcoal as Developmental Standards.


Red Headed

Developed by Mr Eric Brown, Sydney NSW. The 'Red Headed' was developed by selectively breeding birds that showed an extension of the cheek lobe until the entire head carried orange flecking. Still in the developmental stage many birds show the orange flecking but none carry a full red head.



A cock bird was bought at Living Gardens Pet Shop in Brisbane by Mr Steve Mc Millan, Narangbar Qld in late 1996. He reproduced this bird in both cock & hen form and has since passed his stock onto Mr Clive Clarke, Brisbane Qld; who has continued to develop the mutation. It is best described as a silver-back, ie Cream-Back with silver on back, neck and wings.

The Alumina is now accepted as a full standard by the Federation of Zebra Finch Societies of Australia. The Fawn Alumina (Opal) was accepted as a Developmental Standard in 2009.


Appeared in the aviaries of Les Stratford, Sydney and appears to be a form of the Grizzle, though more work is to be done to understand its full relationship/mutation status. It appears as a Grizzle with full colour cheeks, flanks but has a white cap.

In 2008 Federation of Zebra Finch Societies of Australia accepted the Frosted as Developmental Standard.


There have been reports over the years of various other mutations occurring in Australian aviaries but to date have failed to become established or simply disappeared. They include the: Black-Cheek, Pale-Cheek, Frilled, Penguin and Crested varieties. No doubt many more will come and go but it is hoped that those that appear in the future will be developed to their full potential for all to enjoy for the future.




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