Darwin's Pigeons

The dawn of an idea with the

aid of peristronic steps..........

darwin victorian pics 22nd Jan 2009 009 eng pouter fade edge


The Magpie pigeon was originally part of the Tumbler breeds although today in the U.K.  it is purely kept as an exhibition breed. In Darwin times the breed was very much smaller and his red specimen at Tring Natural History Museum bears this out. This bird is mentioned on a list of breeds on one of two narrow  strips of paper exhibited at Down House Museum.


H H Shrives in the 1960's mentions in an article in  "Pigeons & Pigeon World " that the Magpie came from Germany and was called by them the Elster Tummler and during the 1880's Frank Warner (later Sir Frank) conceived the idea that this breed should be more stylish. He then bred longer birds by selection within the breed.


Other fanciers tried outcrosses including Scandaroons.Exhibition Homers and Carriers but none of these were successful.


In 1908 Bracey & Cooke introduced the Bagdais as an ourtcross and in 1910 produced Magpies from this cross.


The UK club was formed in 1885 and the first standard was drawn up two years earlier in 1883.The breed is still to be found  in its original form in Eastern Europe.

magpies victorian magpie judge Alfred Winter from Brighton

Victorian Magpie fancier and judge Alfred  Winter

from Brighton

Reading Gold Cup show 2009 047 IMG_0160 WEB

Original Magpie Tumblers from present day  Hungary  courtesy of Mick Bassett, Germany

Victorian Magpie Tumblers by

Harrison Weir

Magpie Club of U.K. Magpie Pigeons  in Aviary

Magpie Pigeons in aviary

Photo courtesy  Nev Worley U.K.