ORIGIN: 1986 East Moline, Illinois, in the loft of Anya (Anne) Ellis. Recognized by the National Pigeon Association in 1995. Recognized by the French National Pigeon Association (SNC) in 1997.
THE NAME: Seraphim (pronounced sara-fim) is a plural word. Seraph is the singular form of the word. It is correct to say, “I have one Seraph, but soon I will have 10 Seraphim.” There should never be an ‘s’ on the end of Seraphim.
GENETICS: Seraphim are recessive red or recessive yellow birds that molt to white because they stop producing pigment. Genetically they are piebald birds that have color on the shield and tail. Juveniles that have color on other parts of the body will still turn white. The shield turns white because of the ‘whitesides’ gene (tested and proven by Tim Kvidera). Research on why the tail turns white is ongoing. More than one gene mutation is involved and these genes can be separated from the whitesides gene. Since each colored juvenile feather that falls out is replaced by a white feather, it can take two molts for birds to become completely white. Birds born late in the season do not drop every juvenile feather before cold weather stops the molt.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: Adult Seraphim have the appearance of a white angel. They are statuesque and elegant. When stationing the head is held high, the tail low with the chest projected upward and forward. The frill is prominent and the wing butts are clearly delineated from the body. The flights rest on the tail and the back is smooth lacking ‘sails’ in the covert feathers. The feet are covered with small feathers giving the appearance that Seraphim are wearing white gloves.
Other than color, the head is the most important feature in Seraphim. The curve from the tip of the beak to the tip of the needle point peak is unbroken. The head is rounded and the beak is down set and large enough for Seraphim to feed their young. The eye is bull and the cere is unobtrusive and very light pink or almost white in color. There is a gullet that adds weight to the head. A convex and unbroken mane flows from the tip of the peak to the shoulder. Seraphim have a prominent chest frill.
ORDER OF JUDGING:
Station-Back arches in a stressed bird
Head-head may become boxy in a stressed bird
Peak-peak lowers and may become twisted or tufted in a stressed bird
Neck-gullet may be tensed and enlarged in a stressed bird
Mane-a mane break can appear in a stressed bird
Tail-tail may become elevated in a stressed bird
Frill-may be judged at any time
Foot-observe for general impression as the bird moves about, and for specifics during handling
TRAITS TO BE JUDGED DURING HANDLING:
Eye-some eye faults can only be seen during handling
Foot-should be reevaluated in the hand to see if there are feather nubs, which indicate that a bird is not truly bare toed
Condition- can only be evaluated in the hand-body and feather must be felt and feathers must be inspected for lice and holes
Foot, Eye, and Condition are all to be judged during handling; all other qualities are to be observed in the show cage. Stress can alter the stance, feather tightness, and overall appearance of the bird. They must be observed in a calm state before handling in order to form an accurate impression of the bird’s actual quality.
COLOR: (10 points): Recessive red or recessive yellow that molts to white. Young birds will often retain some colored feathers until the second molt. This is not considered a fault in young bird competition since it proves birds are indeed young Seraphim. FAULTS: Failure to molt to white in two seasons. Colors other than recessive red and recessive yellow that molt to white are unacceptable.
STATION: (15 points): Head held high, tail touching the ground. Elegant, with a clean, uninterrupted line from the shoulder to the tip of the tail. Graceful with flights resting on the tail. (Hens are more refined than cocks.) FAULTS: Refusal to station, which places the head high, the tail to the ground, and shows wing butt seapration and a small concave area between the shoulders. Duck-like stance with elevated tail and arched back is a serious fault. (Note that birds may arch their back temporarily when upset.) The presence of ‘sails’ in the covert feathers is a 5 point fault. Flights carried below the tail is a 5 point fault. Short, stocky or cobby appearance is a fault.
HEAD: (25 points): Graceful, rounded over the top of the skull , having a concave dip (swoop) between the top of the head and the tip of the peak. The back of the skull is visible and the tip of the peak is below the top of the skull. The light pink beak protrudes slightly beyond the frontal, but the setting of the beak is ‘down-faced;. Seraphim can feed their own young. A small to medium gullet adds mass to the head. FAULTS: Flat head (lack of a swoop), peak too high or too low, frontal too prominent, frontal too broad between the eyes, beak too small, weak or thin beak, angular head. Head too short from front to back because peak and mane are underdeveloped so theydo not stand far enough out from back of head. Skull too small so head is too small in proportion to body. Lack of a gullet.
PEAK: ( 10 points): Needle point peak that stands well out from the back of the head, and is separated from the head by a dip called the ‘swoop’. The tip of the peak is below the top of the head. FAULTS: Tufted peak, twisted peak, flat peak (partial shell crest), shell crest, peak set too high or too low, lack of swoop (dip) between the peak and the head, peak set too close to the head.
EYE: (5 points): Bull (very dark). The cere is almost white. FAULTS: A faint light ring or faint light spots are minor faults. Pearl eye and orange eye are major faults. Eye cere any other color than almost white.
FRILL: (10 points):Thick (dense), heavily ruffled, wide, long, prominent, with feathers turned in many directions. (A zipper frill is not the ideal). FAULTS: Too little frill, wispy frill, frill too short or crooked, frill that turns only to one side. A zipper frill is not the ideal, but it is preferable to a thin, wispy frill, or a frill that turns to one side only.
NECK: (5 points): The neck is medium sized, not thick. It broadens as it flows from the head to the shoulders. A small to moderate gullet is necessary as it adds volume to the head and dignity to the bird. (Owl breeds all have a gullet.) FAULTS: An overly long neck. A large, pronounced gullet in a relaxed bird. (Tense birds strain and make their gullet more visible.) Absence of a gullet.
MANE: (5 points): A well developed mane should stand well out from the back of the head and flow smoothly from the tip of the peak to the shoulder in a convex, unbroken curve. The two sides of the mane should meet in a line down the back of the neck. The mane should appear symmetrical when viewed from the back. FAULTS: A break in the mane. Undeveloped mane that makes the head appear short from front to back. Mane not a continuous convex curve when viewed from the side. Disorganized feathers that do not meet in a straight line at the back of the mane. No visible meeting line where the two sides of the mane meet. Mane not symmetrical when viewed from the back.
TAIL: (5 points): 12 feathers, slightly flared. Width 2.25 to 2.5 inches. Feathers aligned and touching each other, carried angled toward the ground. Tail should be long and touch or almost touch the ground. FAULTS: Tail too narrow (too well closed). Tail too open (fan shaped). Tail V-shaped or with twisted feathers. Tail held in an elevated position. Tail too short.
FOOT: (5 points): Each toe individually covered with tiny smooth feathers, giving the appearance of a glove with toe-mails protruding beyond the end. There should be a ‘sweep’ of ankle feathering that curves across the top of the foot at the ankle. These feathers should not be sparse but they should not have the appearance of a muff. The foot has the appearance of a white star. FAULTS: Too much ankle feathering so that ‘sweep’ feathers appear to be a muff. Too little ankle feathering (sparse sweep feathers or no sweep feathers). Loose toe feathering, too much or too little toe feathering (exposed toes). A true muff is a serious fault.
CONDITION: (5 points): Clean, white, smooth appearance, firm feel, solid chest muscles. FAULTS: Dirty, thin, poor feather quality, loose feathering, live, holes in the feathers.
Written by Anya Ellis