Tag Archives: Satine

The Satinet Factor

The satinet is the 5th reduction factor.
Perhaps the factor first appeared in the 18th century when Chantelou Hervionx, in his book “El Canario”, mentions the existence of canaries possessing satinet characteristics including red eyes. Modern authors concur the satinet mutation first appeared at the aviary of Mr. Calderon in Argentina during 1966. At this time, the satinet was named Argent-inos. For unknown reasons, the factor was lost to then reappear in the Netherlands during 1969. On this point Mr. Honorio Gimeno Pelegri disagrees. His outstanding book “La Magia del Color” reports the reappearance of the satinet taking place in Belgium.

The satinet is a sex linked recessive factor. This type of heredity requires the male to be homozygous in order to visually display the factor. In other words, the male must receive the genes carrying the factor from both parents. Both of his X chromosomes will carry the factor. For the female to display the sex linked recessive factor on her phenotype, she needs only be hemizygous. Meaning the factor needs to be present in only her X chromosome. Her one X chromosome, upon receiving the factor will automatically show it on her phenotype. The female Y chromosome is empty. Sex linked recessive factors are carried only in the X chromosome. A hen cannot be a carrier is a mutated or normal.

In many reference materials the reader will see the symbols for the sex chromosome X and Y being replaced by Z and W.
The satinet factor will manifest itself in the following forms:

  • As a diluted type lacking phaeomelanin
  • Preventing the formation of black melanins, Dispersed or striated.
  • As it prevents black melanins, the eyes are red
  • Does not alter the density or distribution of brown eumelanin beyond the first reduction factor. (Agates and Isabels)
  • Prevents the phaeomelanin

Remarks gathered from various authors.

  • To prevent excessive dilution, the mutated specimen should be paired back to an oxidized specimen.
  • It is possible that repeated crossing of homozygous birds will result in unstable, sterile or blind birds.
  • Some breeders claim carriers are detectable. The underflue in blacks and agates being greyish while in browns and Isabels it will appear as a pale beige.
  • Due to the lack of phaeomelanins, the contrast exceeds that of normal Isabels.
  • Pencilling should be narrow and short. (Influenced by the category.)
  • In males the contrast is more obvious than in females.
  • The refraction factor improves contrast between striations.
  • In the event the factor occurs in blacks or agates, these will appear as lipochromes. They are not exhibited. The C.O.M. only recognizes typical satinets.
  • In white, yellow, rose and ivory varieties, the eumelanin marks are more evident, showing more contrast.
  • Satinets do not carry any other melanins; however they can carry other somatic recessive genes such as opal, recessive white, etc.
  • It is impossible for a satinet to carry the agate or Isabel factor but agates and Isabels can carry the satinet factor.

This statement is correct; we must also be aware that:

  • Brown cannot carry black
  • Brown cannot carry agate
  • Brown carries only Isabel
  • Agate cannot carry brown
  • Agate can carry Isabel
  • Black can carry the four melanins. These specimens are called passé-partout. The bird is visually black and carries brown, agate and Isabel.
  • Isabels are homozygotes and therefore do not carry any other melanins.

Satinet Types

Certain posters display isabels and brown satinets. Some books show Isabel, agate, black and brown satinets while other reference material denies the existence of the black and brown satinets. The above generates three different theories.

First Theory

In his book, Colored Canaries, the well known author and international judge Geoff Walker states: There are only agate and Isabel satinets.

The satinet factor is a secondary mutation of the already mutated melanin reducing gene which produces agates and isabels.
Therefore the satinet mutation is inseparable from the agate or Isabel mutation. It is then impossible to have brown or black satinets.

Second Theory

This theory is formulated by the well known international judge Mr. Bernandino Yebez (1981). The theory was published in some excellent books by the renown author Mr. Rafael Cuevas Martinez and states there are only agate and Isabel satinets. Brown and black satinets do not exist.

The satinet gene is located very close to the dilution gene which produces agates and isabels; therefore a cross-over is unlikely. It has been proven that when the distance between two allele genes located in the same locus is too short (measured in Map Units or Centi-Morgans); a cross-over is not likely to take place. According to this theory, the satinet and the dilution gene are alleles and are always together in the same locus. The oxidation gene is not allele to them, occupies another space on the chromosome. For a given specimen to be a black or brown satinet; the satinet gene would have to jump (cross-over) to the locus hosting the oxidation gene. There is no record of such cross-over ever happening making the black or brown satinet non-existent.

As the satinet gene exists only paired to the dilution gene, the satinet factor will only manifest itself on the agates and isabels. The satinet gene will not separate from the dilution to join the oxidation gene and form a black or brown satinet.

Third Theory

This theory appears in some books by the writer and international judge Mr. Rafael Cuevas Martinez.
There are only black satinets (diluted satinets) and brown satinets (typical satinets). The agate and Isabel satinets are impossible. Only the typical is exhibited and recognized by the C.O.M. as satinets. This theory seems to be more accepted and supported by breeders and researchers of renown and international prestige such as Pomarede, Filleul, Kop, Conalli, etc.

The theory proposes that the satinet gene is allele to both the dilution and the oxidation genes. The three occupy the same locus (chromosome space)
This is known as polialelism; the three genes in the same locus form an allelic series. The satinet gene is recessive to both the dilution and oxidation genes therefore will only appear in the phenotype when it is present in all X chromosomes. The male will be homocygous and the female hemizygous. Consequently the gene for dilution (agate or Isabel) cannot be present at the same time with the satinet. It is then clear that there cannot be an Isabel or agate satinet. Would only be for oxidation and satinet being a black or a brown satinet.


  • According to the first theory: black and brown satinets do not exist. Only Isabel and agate satinets are possible. However there are pictures showing satinet mutations of all four melanins (black, brown, agate and Isabel).
  • The second theory arrives at the same conclusion as the first. Explaining that due to the proximity of allele genes (1% or less) cross-over of genes is very unlikely. But not impossible. Is it?
  • The conclusion of the third theory is the complete opposite. It states that only black and brown can be satinets and denies the existence of agate or Isabel satinets.
  • Although I was not aware of the previously proposed three theories, I bred satinets during the decades of the 80’s and again from 2000-2009. My breeding program was governed first by the fact that the mutation is a sex linked recessive and second by the selection of specimens which adhere to the standard as much as possible. I received numerous awards at the local, state and national levels.
  • While in agreement with most of the observations put forth above, I do take exception to some. As per example; the belief that close breeding of this mutation will lead to unstable, sterile and blind birds. If proper selection is carried out, the quality of the satinet specimen will be as good as that of birds of any other color which were properly selected.
  • The controversy of whether only black and brown or agate and Isabel are the only possible satinets could be settled by the following test matings:
    1. Pair a satinet male to a normal Isabel hen

      • If the satinet is Isabel, the offspring males will be Isabel/satinet
      • If the satinet is brown; the offspring males will be brown/satinet.
    2. Pair a satinet male to a normal agate female.

      • If the satinet is Isabel, the male offspring will be agate/satinet.
      • If the satinet is brown, the male offspring will be black passé-partout/satinet.

    All females of these crossings will be satinets, hence would not help settle the argument.

  • If we accept that the first satinet appeared from an Isabel mating, we must also realize that the satinet offspring had to be an Isabel satinet. Isabel is recessive to the other three melanins; it can only manifest itself in a homozygous state. A pair of isabels could only produce Isabel offspring. Most likely the appearance of the satinet factor was not influenced at all by the presence of the Isabel factor. The satinet mutation could have appeared in any of the other three melanins.
  • With all due respect to the gentlemen who have stated the previous three theories, I feel compelled to state my own theory. It then becomes the FOURTH THEORY and it is made up of the following observations:
    1. The satinet is definitely a sex linked recessive factor.
    2. The factor first appeared in one of the melanins but can be transferred to any of the other three.
    3. It is not a second mutation of a previous mutation.
    4. The satinet gene is allele to the dilution and oxidation gene but it is located in a different locus within the chromosome.
    5. My breeding experience shows it is a gene that resides in the X chromosome (sex linked) possessing similar characteristics to the first reduction gene but with a different behavior.
      For example: In the brown series, the satinet:

      • affects the brown melanins in the same way as the first reduction but does not allow the formation of any phaeo hence making the striations more evident.
      • completely removes the black pigment from the eyes leaving a clear red eye. Sometimes with somewhat of a darker shadow but never as much as the ino’s.
    6. In the black series canaries the satinet:

      • Is so implacable on black that this melanin is not allowed to appear at all. The black series canary will then look like a lipochrome with red eyes but not as clear and pleasing to the eyes a true lipochrome. The black satinet specimen is neither a good melanin nor a good lipochrome. There is not a standard for it, since it can’t be shown or pretty is not worth breeding.
  • Keeping in mind the theory I have developed of this factor and being aware of the other three theories stated by persons of great knowledge; I will again breed and carry out experiments with the satinet factor starting in the spring of 2013.

In the future I will gladly share the results of my experiments.


Refers to an individual organism that possesses two identical alleles at a locus.

Possession of a single gene at a locus.

Refers to as the difference between a Intense, Frosted or Mosaic canary

One of two or more alternative forms of a gene.

Position on a chromosome where a specific gene is located

Not all sources listed in the reference list at the end of this treatise include the satinet factor but are included in the reference list to give the reader an idea of the depth of my research.

Books, magazines, posters and catalogs consulted.
  • Bases Biologicas de la Canaricultura. Felix Perez-Perez. Professor at the University of Madrid
  • Atlante Del Canarini De Colore
  • Different color canaries Posters
  • Colored Canaries – G.B.R. Walker
  • Canaries In Colour – George Lynch
  • El Canario – Miguel del Pino Luengo
  • Canarios – Ricardo Brunell
  • Avicultura Menor – Massague
  • Cien Preguntas Cien Respuestas – Guillermo Cabrera Amat
  • New Color Canaries – A. K. Guil
  • Canary Color Association – England
  • Coloured – Type – & Song Canaries – G. B. R. Walker
  • Canario Agata – Rafael Cuevas Martinez
  • El Canario Negro Bruno – Rafael Cuevas Martinez
  • El Canario Bruno – Rafael Cuevas Martiunez
  • El Canario Isabela – Rafael Cuevas Martinez
  • La Magia Del Color – Honorio Gimeno Pelegri
  • The Color-Bred Canaries – Gino A. Abbate

Luis R. Fonticoba
questions: info@fontiredfactor.net
National Colorbred Association

Luis R. FonticobaLuis R Fonticoba is a N.C.A. Color Bred judge, exhibitor and breeder of canaries including the classic as well as the new mutations, but specializing in the Red Factor Canary since 1970. Breeding an average of 1,250 babies per year, Luis Fonticoba’s brood stock originates from the best quality Red Factor Canaries that are “C.O.M.” European Champions, as well as U.S.A. National winners.