Crested Zebra Finch
Gray male with Crest

Mutation Effects
Inheritance: Dominant

Male and Female: Forms a flat, circular crest on the top of the head.

Fledgling: Crested chicks can be identified as soon as the head feathers begin to sprout. Even the pin feathers will form the circular pattern of the crest.

The Crested mutation can be combined with any of the other Zebra mutations. The color of the crest is the color of mutation. Even Pied birds can have pied crests or Black Breasted males that have their cheek patch colors extending to the top of their head can have orange in the crest. I usually produce Crested birds in Gray or the darker colors like Black Breasted or Black Face, but have seen white birds such as CFW that were quite attractive.

The Crested mutation does not conflict with any other mutation, but a double factor Crested may be lethal. In this case the young would probably die in the egg and not hatch. To avoid this, only use Crested x normal headed pairings. This may be a good idea anyway since many have reported that Crested x Crested matings have produced Crested birds with really bad form. The crests would stand up rather than lay flat.

Crested Silver Isabel female (click to view)
Crested Black Breasted male - poor breast bar, but notice the orange in the crest (click to view)

Being a dominant mutation, it is fairly easy to produce Crested birds. The difficulty comes in producing birds with nice round, flat crests. Birds can have half crests that are only little 'tufts' of feathers on the front of the head or full crests that have no form and stand up or are generally a mess. There is no sure fire way to improve the quality of the crest that I have found. Some breeders have suggested avoiding Crest x Crest matings. This may not improve the crest, but it might keep it from getting worse. The birds I have produced from Crest x Crest matings have produced some 'rough' crests. It has also been suggested that using a Crest x Crest-bred mating will improve the quality of those birds produced. A Crest-bred bird is a normal headed bird that has one parent with a crest. The idea being that these birds carry modifier genes that help control the quality of the crest produced. This is a technique that is often used by Canary breeders. I cannot say whether this works or not.

2 Crested chicks are easily seen next to a normal