The Japanese gull
Let’s take a look back at how everything arose around this little and favorite fuller bird “the Japanese gull.” And how it eventually became such a popular animal in the Netherlands.
History of the Japanese Owl
About 400 years ago, the Japanese gull was already a much kept and bred pet in China. The Japanese prince Taka-Tsukasa writes in an article in Aviculture Magazine in 1922 that the first Japanese gulls were imported into Japan around 1700.
A report from that time states that they came from southern China and clearly describes the wild form as Lonchura striata; The Spitz-tailed Bronzem Male ??. Taking into account the typical bronzeman characteristics, with large probably 2 subspecies qualify as ancestor of our gulls, the Lonchura striata acuticauda and the Lonchura striata swinhoei. The bronze characteristics of these subspecies such as light cheeks and neck and the typical markings on the back, belly and rump are very similar to the characteristics of the gulls, as we knew them a few decades ago.
The White-tailed Brunet-tailed male inhabits the southern part of China, the area described as the home of our Japanese gull. We may assume that the Japanese gull was already kept as a cage bird in China. The actual domestication process (= becoming a pet) undoubtedly took place in Japan. The Japanese Kozo Nakanischi, for example, writes in his 1929 published work ?? Schicoseghi ?? that the breeding of Japanese gulls in Japan started in ± 1730 and that the first mutant, the reddish brown, was created in ± 1785. The first variegated birds are said to have arisen around 1800. All in all, Japanese gulls have been bred in captivity for about 400 years, so they are among the oldest cage birds.
Japanese gulls first came to Europe in the middle of the last century. The London Zoo displayed a pair of white Japanese gulls to the public. In the beginning these birds were mistaken for a breeding form of the Muscat finch. In 1872 the first Japanese gulls came to Germany. In the early days they were called Bengal or Bengal gulls. The German finch nestor Dr. Russ eventually gave them the name Japanese gull, which is therefore not entirely correct given their originality, but does justice to the large part that the Japanese have had in the domestication process of this bird.
The breeding art of the Japanese has created a large amount of colors and appearances in the Japanese gulls. Based on belief and mythological considerations, the breeding of white and variegated birds was especially popular.
The fact that the Japanese gull are very reliable breeding birds that almost always raise their young without any problems, even in a small space such as a breeding cage, has contributed to the fact that they are also used as foster parents. Especially after 1960 when the export of finches from Australia was discontinued, they were used en masse for the rearing of these popular birds. Without a doubt we can say that without Japanese gulls these beautiful birds would no longer be available to the ordinary enthusiast. In the twentieth century, the Japanese brought different appearances to the fore, with a preference for crested, double-crested and frilled birds.
A new episode in the domestication of the Japanese gulls was heralded by the Danish bird watchers Af Enehjelm and Langberg. These people have the honor of having bred the first Japanese gulls with a lot of dedication and patience, purely through strict selection and only mating gull x gull.
We are still talking about birds that in their appearance are very similar to the white-throated bronze male. In 1956 these Danish birds also arrived in Germany in the colors dark brown and reddish brown. Gradually, the idea arose to breed a single-colored bird as we know it today. German breeders such as Radtke, Kirschke, Esters, Kuhlman and Oppenborn have greatly improved the quality of single-colored Japanese gulls by crossing various other Lonchura varieties.
A few years later
the so-called “colored gulls” are also gaining popularity in the Netherlands. The names of Messrs. Rook and Kreyveld are inextricably linked to the development of the ?? signed ??. The well-known grower Dick Offerman in particular laid the foundations in the Netherlands for a single-colored dark brown (now black brown). The white-headed nun played a major role in his birds. The so-called “Dick Offerman” type was a well-known expression for many enthusiasts. Fred Panjer has another nun at the basis of his breeding stock, namely the black-headed nun. We are then talking about the period in the late sixties and early seventies. The introduction of other factors during this period has led some to mistakenly regard Japanese gulls as bastards. This introduction of Factors has been part of the process of domestication of the Japanese gull. A completely comparable development has occurred in the color canary. Years ago, another bird species (capuchsis) introduced a factor (red factor) that was decisive for further developments within the color canary world. And although the current color canary is even further away from its ancestors than the Japanese gull, no one will ever call the current color canary a bastard!
In 1977 some 40 birds came to the Netherlands from the German breeder Kuhlman; especially the so-called “Fuchsrote” are beautiful deeply colored reddish brown birds. Wil Berns and Arno Kok lay an excellent basis for the reddish brown gulls with these birds. Partly because of Jos Wijgerde and Henk Keetels, who come into possession of birds from the well-known German breeder Esters, the breeding of Japanese gulls in the Netherlands became so popular that in 1975 it was decided to set up the ‘Japanese Owl Specialty Club’. Some other events that should certainly not be left unmentioned here are the discovery of the gray mutation in 1979 by Emiel Debrier, the occurrence of the sex-linked inheriting ino mutation in Denmark in the early eighties and the arrival of several pairs of pearls in 1999 from Japan to Europe. The latter mutants ended up with Fred Panjer and have now produced offspring. With these birds new possibilities in the Japanese gull range can be exploited. After this explanation of the history of the Japanese gull, you will understand that we are far from the end of this dominated bird. Partly for this reason, this bird remains a highly prized cage bird.