Below is an article recently published in Cage & aviary Birds.


picture of cap models from right to left

[1] clear cap no dark markings  [2] nearly clear cap [3] Broken cap more than 1 tenth dark feathers. see article below for further explanation.



By David Allen


Lizard canaries are different to any other type of canary shown in the UK Because of the pattern of it’s plumage. Which is one of the major points when judging Lizards. Spangles is the name giving to the marking on the back of the lizard and rowing’s is the name giving to the marking on the chest and flanks. Another one of the other most important points of the lizard is the Cap.Cap what does he mean, I can here the newcomers to the fancy say.I will try and explain this in this article as it is one of the most important features of the lizard canary after the spangles and rowing.

A lizard canary is shown in classes which are categorized by the type of cap they are. There are three general types of cap are clear cap, broken cap and non cap. You can also get nearly clear caps and nearly non caps.

This is the Lizard canary Associations definitions of these five caps:-

CLEAR CAP ---is Lizard whose cap is perfectly clear of any dark feather or feathers. The cap should cover the crown of the head and go from the top of the beak to the base of the skull, just at the top of the neck. It should be oval in shape, with well defined edges. The edge of the cap should just pass over the top of the eye. Therefore forming an eyelash effect. The colour of the cap should be deep golden orange in both gold’s and silver’s with the silver having a fine frosting of silver over it.

NEARLY CLEAR CAP--- is a Lizard that has dark feather or feathers in the cap area but in total they do not exceed 1 tenth of the total cap area. This bird would be shown in a clear cap class.

BROKEN CAP -- is a lizard whose cap contains more than one tenth of dark feathers in the cap area. This can be in more than one area of the cap.

NON CAP--- is a lizard whose head and neck area is totally clear of any light feathers. A Non Cap is exactly what it say’s it is, a Lizard with out any light feathers in the cap area . It should have a serious of very small spangles on the cap area.

NEARLY NON CAP -- is a Lizard who has light feather or feathers in the cap area, but in total does not exceed 1 tenth, this bird should be shown in the non cap class.

Deciding what type cap a Lizard is can sometimes be difficult, especially with the nearly clear cap and the nearly on cap. So a few years ago [well quite a few years ago now], I made 3 models of cap, to make it easier for myself and when I am explaining it to others and at talks I have been invited to given at club meetings. Or to a newcomer to the bred.

[1] has no dark feathers so it is a clear cap

[2] has dark feathers in the cap area but they make up more than 1 tenth so it is a broken cap

[3] has dark feathers in the cap area but put together these dark feathers do not make 1 tenth so this is a nearly clear cap.

[4] is a picture of a picture I drew of the cap area of a lizard, I divided this area up into ten, this then gives you the idea of how much dark feather is required for the lizard to be classified as a broken cap and the other way round for clear cap. You can also apply this to the non cap as well. With how much clear feather is required to make the bird a non cap or not.

When looking to buy or pair Lizards the cap type must be taken into consideration, as well as the gold and silver feather type.

Pair combinations,

Clear cap to broken cap

Clear cap to non cap

Broken cap to broken cap

Non cap to Non cap

It doesn’t matter which is the hen or cock but one must be gold and the other silver. But a combination that must not be used is the clear cap to clear cap as this could result in over capped off-spring.

I have seen this for myself at an old Lizard breeders birdroom many years ago.

The most popular pair combination is broken cap to broken cap, as generally you breed more broken caps than any other type. The cap type of the parents in no way effect the out come of the cap type of the off-spring. There is no sexed link as in cinnamon.

If you pair two broken caps together you may get clear caps or non caps and the same goes for the other combinations as well .

In fact some years ago a well know lizard breeder spent many years trying to bred a line of non capped Lizards. He paired non cap to non cap for many years and bred very few non caps. Any non caps bred from these were used to pair to other Non caps but they never bred any more non caps than any other pair combination. It seems to be down to pot luck what caps you bred. The non Cap is a very useful type of cap as it can be used if you have a lizard with a clear cap that maybe a bit over capped and this may help with reducing the cap. But I must stress that any birds with over a cap should only be used by breeders who know there stud and this bird must be of great quality, other than the over capped.

For breeders looking to start out with lizards go to a well know breeder and get matched pairs.

At a full lizard patronage show or specialist lizard show classes are put on as follows

Clear cap gold cock

Clear cap gold hen

Clear cap silver cock

Clear cap silver hen

Broken cap gold cock

Broken cap gold hen

Broken cap silver cock

Broken cap silver hen

Non cap gold cock

Non cap gold cock

Non cap silver cock

Non cap silver hen

A further four classes are usually added for over-year lizard for gold both hens and cocks and for over-year silver cocks and hens.

As generally only Lizard bred in the current year are shown as after the first year the feather with develop as white frosting on the edge of the tips of the flights and wings.

I hope this article has helped explain the caps of this unique canary.


For further information on lizard canaries can be found in the book

THE LIZARD CANARY by David Allen £8 plus  £2 P+P

Forward by LCA president Stan Bolton.

Contact David Allen 01865452476



















































I have been looking into using all wire breeding cages for a while now. They are very popular with continental breeders. So this year I purchased 2 blocks of 4 single wire cages. which have a door at the front and at the end of each cage. the wire is coated with white plastic and looks very nice. they don't have wire grills in the bottom but have plastic tray's. This is one of the points I think is very good as it will be easy to keep clean

 The main reason for trialing these cages is the fact that there will be not place for mite to hide and will be easy to clean and will not require painting ever few years.

I have purchased nest compartments to hang on the outside of the cages. but unfortuneatly they only fit on the front or the top cages the will not fit on the ends of the lower cages because of the size of the hooks.

So I ordered some plastic basket type nest pans that clip on the back of the wire cages.

 These case come complete with perches and two feeders, I am using 1 for mixed canary and the other for conditioning seed. I have put tublar drinkers on them and have used the top hat feeders that fit in a ring for the egg food.

 I have used 7 of these 8 cages for breeding with a combination of my Blue Lizard , Normal Lizards and both my pairs of Florino's. these pairs are a mixture of young pairs and older pairs just to see how they go. I am hoping this trial is successful. . I will then look to change all my cages for wire ones. But I need to get it right as it will be a big out lay.

a number of other breeders in the UK have started to use these cages. I will keep you posted on how I get on with these cages throughout the season, via my Dairies on the website.