During its long history the Lizard Canary has acquired a rather specialised vocabulary: more particularly as it differs in several important respects from other breeds of canary. For the benefit of the newcomer to the Fancy the majority of the terms likely to be encountered are given below:
Bald Faced: An objectionable point in which the light area of the cap extends down below the eye or beak and encroaches more or less upon the cheeks.
Bloom: Applied to the appearance of the plumage when it shines as though it had been polished.
Broken Cap: When the light area of the cap is more or less broken by dark feathers. “A Broken Capped Lizard is one whose head and neck feathers disqualify it from being classed either as a Clear or Nearly Clear Cap or as a Non or Nearly Non Cap Lizard”. (Official definition)
Burnished: Applied to colour which is rich, deep and lustrous and carries a distinct bloom.
Cap: The area of light feathers on the crown of the bird’s head. It extends from the base of the upper mandible, passing just above the eye, to the base of the skull and is oval or thumb-nail in shape with a clearly defined edge.
Clean Cut: Used to describe the regularity and sharpness of the outline of the cap.
Clear Cap: When the light colour of the cap is unbroken by any dark feathers. “A Clear Cap Lizard is one whose cap is perfectly clear of dark feather or feathers and has reasonably regular edges”. (Official definition).
Cloudy: Applied to spangling that is not clearly defined and tends to merge into the ground colour.
Eyelash: A line of dark feathers passing above the eye of the bird and giving a good finish to the appearance of the cap.
Finish: General neatness of appearance – an essential feature in Lizard Canaries.
Flat Colour: Dull and lacking in warmth and richness of tone.
Foul Tail: The presence of white feathers in the tail.
Foul Wing: The presence of white feathers in the wing.
Gold: The non-frosted, or yellow, of the Lizard fancy. “It should be uniform in depth and of a rich golden bronze entirely free from suggestions of other shade”. (Official definition).
Grizzled: A greyish tint formed by a mixture of minutely speckled grey and white.
Grizzled Tail: When one or more grizzled feathers appear in the tail, as in Overyear Lizards.
Grizzled Wing: When one or more grizzled feathers appear in the wing, as in Overyear Lizards.
Ground Colour: The general basic colour of the body feathers as distinct from the characteristic pattern of the markings.
Harsh Colour: An unpleasing, jarring tone such as the brassy type of gold.
Hot Colour: Exceptionally rich and deep in colour.
Jonque: An old term for gold derived from ‘Jonquil’, the native French daffodil.
Lacing: The edging of colour on the feathers of the wing butts and covert feathers which should be well and distinctly laced.
Lineage: Used to describe the straightness of the rows of spangles – e.g. “good lineage”, “bad lineage” etc.
Mealy: An old term for silver.
Mooning: An old North-country term for spangling.
Muddy Spangle: When the spots forming the spangling are badly defined and of a hazy appearance showing a tendency to merge into the ground colour.
Non Capped: When the light coloured cap on the crown of the head is entirely absent and is replaced by dark feathers of the normal Lizard pattern. “A Non-Capped Lizard is one whose head and neck is quite clear of light feathers”. (Official definition).
Over-Capped: When the light feathers of the cap extend too far down the neck. This is considered a serious fault.
Patch Cap: A term sometimes used to describe a Broken Capped bird in which the broken area consists of a single patch contained wholly within the area of the cap and having no contact with the edges.
Patchy: Refers to colour which is uneven in depth, generally caused by unskilled colour feeding.
Quality: Refers to the texture of the feathers of the bird. They should be fine and soft and should fit the body closely and tightly with no suggestion of coarseness or looseness. In the Gold Lizard they may be described as ‘silky’ and in the Silver Lizard as ‘velvety’. An important characteristic of the Lizard.
Rowing: The markings on the breast and flanks. The rowing should be clear and distinct from one another and lineable.
Sheen: The same as Bloom and Polish. An important adjunct to feather quality.
Silver: The frosted, or buff of the Lizard fancy. “The Silvery Lizard should possess a deep ground colour of a warm buff tone. Over mealiness is to be discouraged”. (Official definition).
Smoky: Refers to dull and smudgy ground colour. “Any tinge of green in colour fed birds or suggestion of smokiness is a serious fault” – official note on ground colour.
Spangling: The series of small black spots which form the most essential characteristic of the Lizard. Each spangle should be clear and distinct and as black as possible. The spangle should extend from the edge of the cap and run in perfectly straight rows down the back, each succeeding spangle being progressively larger than the one nearer the neck. The rows of spangles should be carried well towards the wing butts.
Star Shoulder: A term sometimes used to describe the presence of a white feather or feathers in the wing butts.
Texture: Used to describe the quality of the plumage.
Ticked Cap: A Nearly Clear Cap in which a small patch of dark feathers (less than one tenth of the area of the cap) appears within the area of the cap and having no contact with the edges.
Work: A term often used to describe the profusion of markings of the bird, e.g. “full of work”. May be used in a more limited sense in connection with the markings of the breast in which case it is usually referred to as “underwork”.