Dominant Silver Zebra Finch
Dominant Silver Lightback male. A popular combination.

Mutation Effects
Inheritance: Dominant

Male: The Dominant Silver causes a dilution of all markings the markings, both orange and black as well as the base color. The amount of dilution varies. Cheek patches can vary from nearly white to almost full orange.

Female: Like the male, the base color and all markings are diluted. The amount varies.

Fledgling: Dominant Silver chicks can be identified as soon as they feather out in the nest. They will have diluted feathers. They also have horn-colored beaks.

The Dominant Silver (DS) mutation is most often combined with the Fawn mutation to create dilute fawns or Dominant Creams. The cream colored birds are very attractive, but some of the males can have such diluted markings that it can be difficult to distinguish them from the females. Another popular combination is Dominant Silver and Lightback. The result is a dilute bird with black tear marks, breast bar and tail bars. This is best seen on those birds with white cheeks. It is quite popular in Australia to combine DS with Black Face to create a bird with stunning contrasts. The photos I have seen show a dark black extension of the breast bar rather than a dilute gray. This is surely due to selective breeding for darker markings. In the US the best path for such a bird might be to combine DS with Lightback and Black Face. This triple combination should provide the desired contrast and color. It could also be achieved more quickly than other triple combinations since two of the mutations are Dominant and one is sex-linked. The first bird showing all three mutations could be produced in two generations.

Since Dominant Silver is a dilute mutation, it is best not to combine it with other mutations that cause a further dilution of the colors (the Lightback is the only exception, see above). This means it should not be combined with CFW (see note below), Fawn Cheek, Florida Fancy, Recessive Silver and White. Other mutations that should be avoided in combination with Dominant Silver include those mutations that require contrasts to be appealing and include Pied and Penguin.

Dominant Cream - A Dominant Silver + Fawn combination (click to view)
Dominant Cream Hen (click to view)
Dominant Silver Lightback male (click to view)
Dominant Silver Lightback Fawn (click to view)

Dominant Cream pair - male (left) female (right)

The Dominant Silver is different from the Recessive Silver in more ways than the method of inheritance. The Dominant Silver dilutes the orange markings (cheek patches and flank marks) as well as the base color and black markings (breast bar, tail bars and tear mark). The Recessive Silver mutation only dilutes the base color and black markings, leaving the orange markings at full strength. The same distinction is used to determine the difference between Dominant Silvers and Silver Isabels (Florida Fancies). The females of all three mutations can be extremely difficult at times to tell apart, but there is a qualitative difference between the levels of dilution that offer clues to their genetic background. I cannot explain the difference, but once you have seen all three, you will know what I'm talking about.

Dominant Silvers, especially the darker versions, are often plagued by a blotchy appearance to the back color rather than the preferred smooth, even dilution. In an effort to smooth out that color, some breeders have tried mating DS with CFWs. This causes a further dilution of the base color. Whether or not this works I cannot say. The disadvantage being any CFWs produced will likely show some dilution which is not desirable and repeated matings to CFW may cause too much dilution in the Dominant Silvers.

It is believed that the double factor Dominant Silver is a lethal. That is to say that if an egg were to receive the Silver gene from both its parents, it would not hatch but die in the shell. I am not aware of any advantages to breeding a Dominant Silver to a Dominant Silver. Most breeders rely on a Dilute x Normal mating to produce more Dominant Silvers.

Dominant Silver males. Dark version with light cheeks (left). Light version with cream cheeks (right).