Sherzi Tumblers *


by late H.P.MACKLIN


These Tumblers originated probably in Persia (Iran). Sam Shadeed of Jacksonville, North Carolina, imported them to the U.S. in 1954 from Damascus, Syria. In Syria Shakhsharll means "over-dressed" and Sherazi means 'coming from Sheraz (Persia).' The latter name is good evidence that the Syrians do not claim it as a native breed.

The Sherazi is a flying Tumbler, small, averaging 13 oz. It is plain headed and small muffed, about one inch on the toes. It is bred in black, blue, red, yellow and cream (barred yellow). The plumage is colored except for a white head and neck, the white extending to the bottom of the neck on the back and deep in front on the breast. There may be a colored spot on the top skull and on the cheeks. Some times the entire head and cheeks are white. Also, usually a pitch of white on the rump, silver dollar in size. The eye is pearl. 'Me muffs are usually colored but can be white.the markings are not well fixed since in Syria the variety Is raised only for air performance. An unusual breed that has not gained the wide popularity in the U.S. that was expected of it.

Mr. Lexi's book also shows two nice examples of the Sherazi in blue and black. 1 have taken the liberty of making the head spots uniform. Usually The head design is anything but symmetrical.

My German book has this to say about the variety :the Syrian shakhsharli tumblers are related to the  Indian Sherajee pigeon and also with the Lahore. they are good flyers and of medium size. The head is rounded and can be crested or smooth headed. The eyes are either pearl or dark, beak medium long, mostly flesh colored. 'The neck is medium long, the throat nicely formed. 'Me back and tail form an unbroken line down- ward. Wings rest above the tail. The 12 feathered tall is held in a tight, narrow position. no foot feathering is short and should cover only the toes, but this is rarely the case.

the design is rather peculiar. Body is colored; white head and neck to breast line. Cheeks and top skull are color spotted. the cheek spots are under the eyes. Pigeons with these head markings are in truth seldom seen as the Syrians place the flying ability definitely first. the exhibition value of these Tumblers in America would indeed be good but due to the imperfections in their design too much would have to be overlooked.

Personal Comment: If my memory serves me right 1 received two pairs of Sherazi Tumblers from Mr. Shadeed some tirne after he imported them to the U.S. In fact, we corresponded almost weekly because 1 was recording   all the various Syrian breeds of pigeons for my 'pigeon Portraits " series that he was importing at the time.

1 felt confident this little Tumbler would catch on in the U.S. because the design was so unique the birds simply caught your eye from the far end or the loft 1 had the dark blue   bars and blacks. They were fast producers and good parents but there simply was no controlling the head design. Mainly the spots were uneven and frequently, misplaced. 'I he only consistent markings were the round white spots on ' he rumps which 1 never Red on the birds. Also the white neck was usually evenly bordered at the neck base. Another marking that intrigued me was in the foot feathering. The very short muffs were black but the feathers on the toes were always white, making a nicely finished border to the design    This muff marking was also rather consistent. 1 never did produce young  with Just the toes feathered and the legs bare, as mentioned by the German fanciers.

I worked with these Tumblers for several years trying to line up the head markings but to no avail. 'Men 1 tried to breed out the spots and just have a solid white head and neck. I had a few marked this way and tl,7  were really beautiful birds. But the spots appeared more often than not and I finally gave up.

what puzzles me was how those Syrian fanciers ever produced the markings as well developed as they had. Around 1950 there were few, if any, exhibitions held in that country and the local fanciers bred those birds for flying only, not markings. No records were kept and banding was unheard of; so how could this Tumbler have developed this odd design just from indiscriminate breeding?


*APJ JUNE 1978