The Iranian Highflyer

By: Dale Cates - San Diego, CA

Have you ever seen a photo of a pigeon in a magazine and hope that someday you'd have the chance to see it in person? When 1 first saw a photo of the "Iranian Roller" accompanying an article in an old American Pigeon Journal (Dec. 1983), 1 was fascinated by the description of this flying breed from the Middle East. It was said to have a wingspread of up to 30", yet the body was not much bigger than that of the Birmingham Roller. Wow! Talk about being meant to fly! The author actually stated that the term roller was inappropriate in that is was "an endurance flyer that took a completely different evolutionary path than our flying Tippler ... with a wing and skeletal structure more resembling a buteo (hawk) than a pigeon". In other words, it was meant to soar. Being a fancier who enjoys flying pigeons, the description of this breed fascinated me. If 1 could only find some, 1 knew I'd enjoy them. As with the case of rare breeds, they are (of course) hard to find. 1 didn't know anyone who had ever seen these birds in person, much less see them fly. My only encounter, it seemed, would be what 1 had read in the article in that old magazine.

One of the fortunes of belonging to an all breeds pigeon club, like the San Diego Metro Pigeon Club, is that 1 have the opportunity to meet other pigeon fanciers who own breeds of pigeons different from what 1 raise. 1 may not be able to personally raise them all, but 1 can still enjoy the many varieties our members raise and show. A little more than one year ago, a fancier joined our club whose native country is Iran. His name is Amir. Discovering that 1 enjoy flying breeds, Amir began to describe a pigeon from his native country that was a great flyer and could soar in the sky for hours.     He called it an Iranian Highflier. 1 couldn't believe what 1 was hearing! 1 asked him more questions, and soon realized that he was speaking of the same bird 1 had read about in that old APJ.

In due time, and with no little effort, Amir located and obtained some of the pigeons he had flown as a young man in Iran. He invited me over to his loft to see them. How could 1 refuse such an offer? It was easy to see why Amir is so fond of these birds. As 1 examined his birds, he spoke of them with such great passion and admiration. 1 discovered the term 44 roller" came from the fact that they will perform a flip when flying. It's nothing like a Birmingham Roller, just a flip, occasionally hovering before it does the flip. The best birds tend to rise above the rest of the kit to show off their talents. The flying characteristic of the Iranian Highflyer is that of a soaring bird, with a slower wing beat than most flying breeds of pigeons. They gain altitude quickly and have been reported to fly as long as 8-10 hours. As Amir continued to describe the breed, my fascination for them was once again stirred.

The Iranian Highfiyer comes in various patterns and colors. The shield marked is called Posht Dar, the almond is called Surur, Palengi is spotted on the face and back, Kaleh Brenji is grizzled on the head and neck, Suski is a black and brown color (like a roach), Posht Khaldar carries a spot on the back, and Dast Pari is white with colored flights and tail. It is a beautiful bird with a very graceful look. The cock bird is larger and more powerful looking than the hen. Their beaks should be medium to short, short being preferred, although they have no problems whatsoever in feeding their young. In fact, they are very good parents.     I can attest to this personally, as 1 now have two pair breeding and six birds flying. As I said, 1 knew if I could find some, I'd enjoy them.

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