The Birmingham Roller

Origin - England, in and around Birmingham.  The exact date of origin is uncertain.  Fulton (1876) mentions it in one line.  Charles Leinhard of Cincinnati, Ohio imported the breed into the United States in the late 1870’s; it was advertised in 1879.  The birds used in the creation of the Birmingham Roller are uncertain, for there is a lack of contemporary literature.  Lydell (1887) in England said it occurred in both clean legged and muffed in many colors and patterns and listed them by name.  Lydell thought the Birmingham Roller was descended from the Dutch Tumbler described by Moore (1735).

Description - It is an air performer which should roll, that is, perform backward somersaults in a continuous and unbroken sequence, at the same time losing altitude.  It is a neat pigeon with fairly tight feathering and carry its wings neatly folded upon it tail.  (There have been some specimens that demonstrated droop wings and many believe it was due to a more recent out-cross.  Droop wings are also a characteristic of the Oriental Roller which is believed by many to be a part of the development of the Birmingham Roller).


Size - Small, average weight of cocks about 9 ½ ounces; hens about 8 ½ ounces.  Weights vary in different strains in the United States.  Its wings, tail, and legs are well proportioned for flight and acrobatics.

Ornaments - It is plain headed and should be clean legged.  Some specimens may have been grouse legged, or small muffed, but clean legs are usually desired, especially for the show room. (You will find specimens having large muffed feet and crests or peaks on the head.  Many believe these are due to recent out-crosses and/or breeders breeding for this trait and not for performance, mostly found in the United States.

Colors - It is bred in most colors and patterns: selfs in black, dun, blue, silver, red, yellow, almond, and white.  Patterns:  rosewing, mottled; whiteside, saddle, badge, beard, baldhead, and bell neck.  (You will find specimens that far outreach these colors and patterns and it is believed by many to be from recent out- crosses from non-performing breeds primarily in the United States)

The breed is one of the most popular in the United States.  It has several clubs both national; regional; and local sponsoring it for the show room as well as performance.  (The ASRA is just one of the local clubs)

W.M. Levi

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