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1. Basic Genetics 1

2. Basic Genetics 2

3. The Pigeons & Humans

4. Mutation & Natural Selection

5. Pigeon Colors 1

6. Pigeon Colors 2

7. Pigeon Patterns

8. Pigeon Eye Colors

9. X-Pigeons


er - Erratic


The erratic mutant was first documented by Robert. J. Mangile in 1983, "Erratic," a behavior mutant in the pigeon. The article, “Three New Recessive Behavior Mutants in the Domestic Pigeon”, published in Behavior Genetics by Willard. F. Hollander and Robert. J. Mangile in 1994 also reported this uncoordinated behavior in pigeons. Mangile in 1983 reported this mutant as an autosomal recessive trait and in 1994 he suggested that erratic and crazy were not alleles, despite some phenotypic similarities.

The original erratic mutation first appeared in Mangile's stock in the early 1970s. All the mutants were somewhat related, tracing to a Racing Homer male which had been introduced in 1968. A preliminary report about the erratic was published in 1983 by Mangile (RJM), and Hollander (WFH) then obtained some examples for further breeding tests. According to RJM and WFH, preliminary histological study of the brain of erratic specimens by Dr. Lyle D. Miller of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine revealed no obvious abnormality.

Adult "erratic" birds, when alarmed or excited, showed jerky movements of the head, some-times holding the head upside down over the back, and they may walk in rapid brief circles. The birds cannot fly purposefully, and they are unable to pick up food unless it is in a cup or trough. Even when they grasp a grain, it is usually flung away instead of being swallowed. However, drinking is normal, and normal copulation and other breeding activities are generally achieved.

Identification of erratic behavior in baby squabs is possible with experience, especially through their unsteady head movements. After a couple of weeks they show excessive defense action and tend to blunder out of the nest. Weaning is a very critical period (fourth-fifth week) because of difficulty in learning to eat and drink. Erratic birds do not compete well with normals in a flock situation” (Hollander, Mangile).

According to Mangile, heterozygous erratic birds seemed to be completely normal. In fact several of the heterozygotes in the Mangile’s stock have raced hundreds of miles successfully.

As of July 2014, Bob Mangile (private communication) informed me that Erratic mutants was lost due to difficulty of hand feeding them to keep them alive. According to Mangile, the Erratic birds were impossible to keep alive and very few of them managed to learn to eat. Most of them were hand fed with the hope that they would learn to eat but that didn't happen.


Hollander W. F., Mangile, R. J. (1994). Three new recessive behavior mutants in the domestic pigeon. Behavior Genetics Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 181-186.
Mangile, R. J. (1983). "Erratic," a behavior mutant in the pigeon. Pigeon Genet. News Views Comments 2:7-11.
Mangile, R. J. (2014). Private Communication.
Mangile, R. J. (1988). "Wobbly"-Is it new in pigeons?" Am. Pigeon J. Jan.: 61.

Copyright July, 2014 by Arif Mümtaz

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