Red eyes (iris) in zebra finches - genetic background

Learn about mutations and expected breeding outcomes.
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Sila
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Red eyes (iris) in zebra finches - genetic background

Post by Sila » Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:45 am

Hi!

Wild zebra finches have deep red irises, most domestic ones have brown or alsmost black eyes.
For those who do not know what I mean, there is a foto of a wild grey male, where you can see the intensity of the red colour. red iris in wild zebra finch

When I started breeding in the late nineties I bought a grey male with stunning red eyes and was surprised to find this trait in a domesticated bird.
Unfortunately I did not try to find out the genetic background back then.
Several years later, after a long search, I managed to find a blackbreast grey male with red eyes (he is the one in the foto below) but I could not find a female with that trait. I had to stop breeding soon after that and lost the red eyes again.
Last year I started with Gouldian finches again and wanted to buy some zebrafinches too.
There are not many breeders left and it is hard to get any zebra finch these days, even harder to find one with the desired eye colour.
After months of search I've found a hen and I am going to buy her next week.
I hope I'll find a male for her.

Has anyone ever tried to find out the genetics that causes the wild type iris in zebra finches? There is a huge variation in colours, it can range from a mahagony- brown colour to light orangebrown to deep wine red.

It would be a great help, because I think it looks absolutely stunning and I'll focus in establising this trait.

With greetings from Austria (europe)
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Re: Red eyes (iris) in zebra finches - genetic background

Post by Icearstorm » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:48 am

Sila

I don't know the answer, but I'd also be interested to know. Some white-rumped munias, the wild ancestor of society finches, also have red eyes, while chocolate societies typically have brown eyes: White-rumped munia

I wonder if there are any other species that have different-colored eyes after being bred in captivity for multiple generations.

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Re: Red eyes (iris) in zebra finches - genetic background

Post by Sila » Mon Apr 01, 2019 12:18 pm

Hi!

The eyes of the white rumped munia look great.
I have not come across another avian specias, that changed their eye colour in captivity jet.

I've managed to get a pair with reddish eyes. I 'm so excited :mrgreen:
Her eyecolour is nice, his could be better but is ok. At least it is some kind of red. Was very hard to find them. I'll mate them asap, male has to settle in first. Very curious about the offspring. They are broth grey, female has pale cheeks and is carrying black cheek. Male is possible black breast carrier.

A breeder things the red eyes could be sex linked. I do no think so because the trait is far more common in males than in females.

Greetings :D
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Re: Red eyes (iris) in zebra finches - genetic background

Post by Icearstorm » Mon Apr 01, 2019 11:24 pm

Sila

Nice! If it's more common in males, then it could be sex-linked dominant, not sex-linked recessive as you see in most sex-linked mutations. Which means a red-eye split male could produce 50% red-eyed and 50% brown-eyed females no matter who he's paired with, 50% red-eyed male splits and 50% brown-eyed males if mated to a brown-eyed hen, or 50% red-eyed split males and 50% pure red-eyed males if bred to a red-eyed hen.

Alternatively a red-eyed hen could produce 100% red-eyed split male offspring and 100% brown-eyed females if bred to a brown-eyed cock; 50% red-eyed split males, 50% pure red-eyed males, 50% red-eyed females, and 50% brown-eyed females if bred to a red-eyed split cock; and 100% red-eyed males and 100% red-eyed females if bred to a pure red-eyed cock.


If eye color does turn out to be sex-linked dominant, your pairing should either result in 100% birds with red eyes, or 100% red-eyed males (these will be splits), 50% red-eyed females, and 50% brown-eyed females.


It will be interesting to find out!

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Re: Red eyes (iris) in zebra finches - genetic background

Post by wildbird » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:13 pm

I had a female cinnamon Java Finch with red eyes. Her eyes were sensitive to certain indoor lighting and she didn't want to be in the sun. Why would you want red eyes? They could be weaker than the normal eye color.

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Re: Red eyes (iris) in zebra finches - genetic background

Post by Icearstorm » Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:37 am

wildbird

Were the pupils red as well, or just the irises? The images of many of the Java mutations I'm seeing seem to have reddish pupils too. I've heard of animals with red pupils having vision issues, but I haven't heard much about birds with red irises but black pupils having difficulty.

Since red seems to be the wild-type iris color in zebras, it wouldn't make much sense for red irises to be an issue for their species; wild zebs spend a lot of time in harsh sunlight, so their vision in bright light should be good. It is odd that captive ones tend to have darker irises, though.

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Re: Red eyes (iris) in zebra finches - genetic background

Post by Sila » Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:44 pm

wildbird wrote: I had a female cinnamon Java Finch with red eyes. Her eyes were sensitive to certain indoor lighting and she didn't want to be in the sun. Why would you want red eyes? They could be weaker than the normal eye color.
The original red eyes of wild zebra finches are not albino eyes.
Pupil is black, only the iris is red. They have no problem with their eyes.

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Re: Red eyes (iris) in zebra finches - genetic background

Post by wildbird » Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:11 pm

Icearstorm: The whole eye looked red to me, but not the dark red-wine color. Her's was lighter and brighter. I don't have her anymore. I have seen it in other cinnamon colored Javas. She avoided bright light.

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Re: Red eyes (iris) in zebra finches - genetic background

Post by Icearstorm » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:38 pm

wildbird

That could explain it. I don't know what exactly what causes the difference between color, but whatever it is seems to protect black pupils from harsh sunlight or exposure to UV or something. Perhaps whatever causes the black pupil color helps absorb light more.

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Re: Red eyes (iris) in zebra finches - genetic background

Post by Sila » Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:14 pm

Icearstorm wrote: Sila
I wonder if there are any other species that have different-colored eyes after being bred in captivity for multiple generations.
Today I ran across a post from 2015 in another forum, where the user mentions differnet eyecolours in wild and captive bred painted firetail (Emblema picta). The wild birds have light bluegrey irises, most of the captive bred ones dark grey or brown. This is a stark differnence in colour. (You can google it)

I could not find other ressources for this claim, but the pictures I've found seem tro prove it.

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Re: Red eyes (iris) in zebra finches - genetic background

Post by haroun » Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:20 am

yep i'm pretty sur that red or brown eye color is sexlinked as all the maleq witch i got with that case were fawn or cfw offsprings

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Re: Red eyes (iris) in zebra finches - genetic background

Post by Sila » Tue Apr 23, 2019 6:18 pm

Today the first chick of my red eyed pair hatched. To my surprise it seems that it is quite light. Also the mouth markings are lighter than I would expect in a grey chick. Very likely sex linked mutation, brown, marked white or lightback. So this little one will be a surprise. I hope for a brown hen. There are three eggs left, I am curious what will hatch next.

With a pair of black cheek grey zebras I have completed my red eye collection for now, unless I find a bird with even better eyes. Both pictures are taken outside in natural light but no sun at is was a cloudy day.
The males beak has an amazing colour too. One of the reddest beaks I have ever seen in a zebra finch. Looks beautiful together with black cheeks and red eyes.
Both are molting and need a bit of rest and settling in before being bred.
I am really happy with my newest addition, I can't stop watching them.

Fun fact: the male has a three coloured flank pattern. There is a thread about his phenomenon and I have only come across it last week and now I own one.
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