By Terry Smith, from the Heartland News, August 1994.
The most familiar guinea is the Pearl Gray. This variety is the original wild color of guineas when they were first imported from their native Africa. The color of the plumage varies from dark slate gray to almost blue black. The feathers are spotted with pearl colored dots, which vary in size according to where the spots are located. This is the only variety of guinea, which has dark flesh. The Splash or Silver Wing varieties resulted from a cross between the Pearl Gray and African White varieties. The Splash is a pearl colored guinea with a totally white front. Some birds may also have white feathers and some white on the shoulders.
The White or White African has existed since the early 19th century. The plumage is devoid of spots. The bare skin area on the neck is light bluish while the rest of the skin is pink like that of a white chicken or turkey.
The Royal Purple guinea is a melanistic variety having dark plumage, which is so dark that it appears black with a purple cast. Originally he breast area was spotted, but selective breeding has produced birds without the spots on the breast. A Lakenpur is like a Royal Purple in color, but has a white front.
It is believed that a cross between the Pearl Gray and the African White is responsible for producing the variety known as the Lavender. The base color of the plumage is a pale silver gray with a lavender or lilac tint. Dots in various sizes are found throughout the body. A lavender colored bird with no spots is known as an Azure. The Lavender Splash results when a Lavender guinea is crossed with an African White. The Silver Wing is a Lavender colored birds with the white front. A Porcelain is a dilute, paler form of the Lavender. There is also a Porcelain White, which has a white front.
The Blue Coral guinea, which is also known as the Peacock or Violet, is one of the showiest of the mutant varieties. Its plumage is dark blue with spots of coral, which make it have an overall violet appearance. A Coral White has a white front. The Opaline, a variety developed through selective breeding, has the plumage of the Blue Coral, but it is a dilute with a pale icy, bluish white coloration. The Opaline White has a white front.
The Dundotte variety is tan to light brown in color and is marked with varying sized dots. If once selects his breeders carefully, once can obtain birds ranging in color from light tan to dark reddish brown. The Dundotte White has a white front. The Buff is an even buff color with no white spots.
Any color mutation can be Pied, but to get them to breed pure, one must line-breed. The pied, unlike the Splashed which has fixed white markings, has sporadic white markings throughout its plumage and no two pied specimens will marked the same.
Breeders working with the various color phases have also developed Owls. These birds having a standard color, but there are pale rings around the eyes. A breeder in South Africa has developed a barred variety, which does not have spots. According to different people I've talked to at swaps in Missouri and Kansas, someone in Illinois has developed a Red Guinea.
It is amazing what breeders with a knowledge of genetics, patience and persistence have been able to accomplish with color of the common guinea over a period of time.
|© August 1994 The Heartland News, Terry Smith|