Rare Egyptian Swift Pigeon
Dennis Kuhn Loft

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Below is the description standard for Egyptian Swift breed of pigeon. They are still considered a rare breed in the U.S as well as other parts of the world... 

The Standards of the Egyptian Swift (ES)
by Adel Salem

Introduction:

The standards of the Egyptians pigeons in Egypt have existed as early as the18th century. DR W.F. Hollander a leading geneticist and pigeon researcher from Ames, Iowa. USA had written an article in November 1982 in the late American Pigeon journal indicating that he had reviewed a copy of it (Mekkatube-Duerigen, 1886). The book describes many ES as he had exactly seen them during his 1981 visit to Egypt. The hand written book was copied by concerned fanciers over generations, which many revere as the foundation of nowadays, ES. The Egyptian swifts were among several pigeons described in the book.

In 1938 an individual effort by Mustafa Gahnem led to more update of the standards. The book is found in leading libraries in Egypt.
The latest production is a combined effort by over fifteen leading Egyptian fanciers. The booklet includes all the flying Egyptian pigeons anf few Shamy breeds (Syrian and Lebanese). Basic sketches are included with each breed to illustrate its standards.
In addition to the sketches, I have added other close up photos to be replaced by better ones as the years progress. The book became available in the market in 1997. Its ISBN is 977-19-0924-X. The book is prepared by Mohamed Gab Allah with an effort led by Mohamed F. Buckley. Mr. Buckley in his introduction has stated that the reason for publishing the booklet was "that the quality of birds that he saw in the show of Donchaster, England and Dartmouth, Germany did not truly represent the Egyptian breed. The Egyptian group that was touring then made a comment that "the Egyptian Swifts on display represented the Egyptian bird only in color; however lacking all other qualitiesr". The immediate response was "where is then the Egyptian standards". The group headed to Egypt to form a committee to oversee the birth of an organized and conclusive book of standards.

Customarily young fanciers in Egypt rely upon the wealth of experience that passes from one generation to the next by word of mouth, rather than concerning with books. Each neighborhood that is involved in the sport of flying has a designated cafe where fanciers gather in the evenings to discuss flying issues for that evening. The top veteran fanciers reinstate the standards that passed on for many generations. Those fanciers act as judges to settle differences among beginners. This could be followed by a toss up from an agreed upon distance. Betting is usually involved as agreed upon.

That system worked adequately in Egypt. You learn as you grow up, but what about fanciers who have grown foreign to the breed or who drop one breed to it replace it by the ES. Obviously there will be confusion and reluctance.
I am strictly translating what has been written in the booklet. My views are not injected in the standards, as it will be reserved to my own articles.
The reader should realize that there are general European standards made upon importation of two Egyptian Swift’s groups to generalizing all the 10 or more Egyptian groups!!.
By all means this will not accommodate for all the ES groups and account for the vast difference among them.

 

What commands the standards of a breed?
This is determined by the refinement and development that few individuals have reached as compared against the rest of the population of the same breed.
The degree of difficulty in reaching a previously unattainable quality or qualities sets the tone for standards.

Common characteristics of the Egyptian Swifts (ES)

The show ES:
Long sloped and narrow body with concave backs. Low station as expressed by short legs and upright station. Articulate small heads with short beaks. Legs are free from feathers below the hock. All the above gave the bird its name the Swift after the Chimney Swift. They have luxurious amount of long and brittle feathers covering a small body.

The flying ES:
The body is not as skinny and feathery as the show bird. The flying bird is one or two inches shorter than a show bird, compacted and showing hardly any loose feathers. Legs tend to be of medium length rather than the short size of the show bird. The head size is also larger than a show bird. In Egypt there is a considerable crossing between the two groups to complement each other.
The ultimate goal for a flying bird then is to reach a bird with a combination of good flying ability with most of the show qualities, but certainly not all.

Undesirable or cull
An ES with a large head and loose feathers, especially if it does not fly. Long legs with high station. Brittle and excessive length of feathers will give an untidy appearance for the birds (loose feathered birds). Birds with crests, except for the white tail group.
Frills are an indication of atavism (producing offspring similar to the ancestors) or cross breeding and should be removed.

Head size evaluation

This category is addressed separately, since it is a focus point for this breed. Those who wonder as they gaze at an ES asking What makes the bird look the way it is? Well find their answer probably here.

A major part of the answer is because of a small head tucked in short stout neck. It is indeed the hardest issue for a novice to notice and to evaluate for.

I have found that fanciers in general don’t have much difficulty in following up the standards except when it comes to the head size. How small is small? Especially when dealing with birds that has various body sizes that consequently have various head sizes. Fortunately there is a simple rule that could be followed.

Imagine that the head, throat and chest area is shaped as a cone with the head resting on the center top and the chest forming its wide base. For the cone shape to look evenly sloped the head on the top has to be the smallest part of it and as we descend, the cone becomes enlarged until it reaches its base or the chest.
Following that rule a larger bird that naturally has a large head size as compared to a smaller bird could be easily judged as a bird with proportionally smaller head.
In another words the throat area as it meets the base of the skull is simply equal in size or slightly wider than the skull, that makes the head to appear small.
Many fanciers in Egypt evaluate the birds primarily on the bases of head size and head setting and paying little attention to everything else.

The eye sign

There is so mush input and emphasis on the eye sign in the book of standards. Only the professional ES fancier has supreme command of it.
The black body in the center of the eye is called the Pupil. Surrounding the pupil is the Cere. The Cere has pigmentation that gives the eye its distinguished color. The Cere in many ES exhibits two circles around the Pupil. The inner circle or a fine lining that immediately surrounds the pupil and another outer lining that is nearest to the Eye-Cere. Each lining has its own color. I will do my best to present close ups to bring about that effect at all the times.

The major Egyptian Swifts groups

1- Safi: resemble the African owl head and face; however the head is noted to be smaller. The body is long and sloped as in the ES in general.
2- Otati: Andalusian color expressed with other factors giving the body its unique color as it contrasts with platinum faded neck. Short to medium beak.
3- Anbary Asmar: Self-black and black with white flights. Beak is short to medium, strong and blunt as in the Otati.
4- Ahmar Gohzar: identical to the Otati and Anbary except for the color. The color is deep rich recessive red.
5- Bolk: White body, marked with colorful shields and cheeks. Colors are laced indigo, blue, yellow, black, red and others. Bars are expressed on many shields.
6- Mesawed: Black bird with white tail and flights. Short to medium stout and strong beaks.
7- Rehani: their bronze and yellow necks distinguish this group. Beaks are short, obtuse and spindly.
8-9-10: Karakandy, Absy and Halaby: They all have solid color body except for a white tail. Some come with well-developed crest.
The Karakandy has blue body with or without black bars.
The Absy is solid black. Group 8 and 9 have skiny beaks and beak setting resemble many Rollers.
Halaby is rich recessive red and thick beak settings
11-12: Egyptian Halaby(Ressive Red)and Egyptian Absy(Black):
They have white tail and blunt short face.
11- Kojook: apparently derived from a Tturkish word means short. Comes in many colors. Resemble to a great deal African and German owls

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