all 3 pics İHein van Grouw
Pic #1 Juvenile plumage - barred feathers are the result of temperature
Pic #2 Bird which molted in summer
pic #3 Bird which molted in winter
The inheritance of Color Head seems to be autosomal recessive but the exact inheritance is not yet clear. This color mutation is from Italy and at this moment very rare in Europe. In the US this mutation does not exist.
The pigmentation depends on the temperature, so Color Head is comparable to the point mutation in Siamese cats & Himalayan in rabbits and other mammals. as a result of a lower temperature of the extremities melanin will only be produced in these parts of the body. In other words, melanin production fails in the warmer body parts. This phenomenon is called acromelanism.
The first evidence about the relation between the pigmentation & the temperature was found after the very cold Dutch winter in 1995/96. At first it was thought the birds get more color when they become older, just like Almond (St) in pigeons for example. However a heavily colored Color Head which molted during the winter, had lost most of his color after he molted again next summer.
This pigmentation/temperature relation was confirmed by plucking feathers for several months. In a cold period new feathers grew in darker than they did in a warm period. Doves which molted in summer (mean temperature 18o C = 64o F) are almost white except their heads. The plumage of the head is light gray with a minimal mauve tint. The neck ring is brown. The plumage of a Color Head which grows its feathers in winter (mean temperature 2o C = 36o F) is remarkable darker. The head is gray with a mauve/pink tint like the wild-type & the neck ring is dark brown. The breast also has a minimal pink shade.
General coloration is light cream with more or less dark feathers on the wing shield and rump. The wing edge is pale blue-gray and the tail band is noticeable like in White. Coloration of eyes, bill & legs are the same in both forms. The eyes are yellow-red. The color of the bill & legs is similar to Blond.
Color Head can be combined with other mutations. There are strong indications Color Head & Albino are alleles. This is not surprising because the Himalayan factor in mammals is also allelic with Albino in these species. Further investigation is necessary to confirm if Color Head & Albino really represent a multiple allelic series in the Ringneck Dove.
European Ringneck Colors