The Barb Is yet another distinct old breed which is well documented as being in England in the 1600's. With a short beak said to be very stout and thick, like that of bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula), and large coral red eye cere. it is thought to be very closely related to the taller Carrier.
The original birds were said to have come from the north African Barbary coast and thus explaining their English name. The earliest Barbs had single peak crests behind the head and any old prints of them show this, however as better quality birds without crests arrived in England via the south of France in Victorian times this feature was bred out in favour of better show specimens.
English fanciers paid the most attention to the head of the Barb and it is said today that the feather quality of Barbs is rather loose this could be as fanciers strove for a larger bird and demonstrates how if one set of genetic traits is followed it can be at the expense of others.
The eye cere is not so pronunced in youngsters and takes up to two years to be fully devolped hence at shows there are three age classes youngster, yearling and adult, two year old.and above
Charles Darwin used a Barb cock bird in crosses with almond Tumblers and Fantails during his studies.
William Shakespeare, 'As You Like It'
" I will be more jealous of thee than a Barbary cock-pigeon over his hen,"
Rosalind, Act iv. Scene I
English Barb , one of the six breeds present at John Murray Publishing to celebrate the 150th anniversary of "On The Origin Of Species".
Young white Barb only 3 months old