Satinette Pigeon: Types | Care & Maintenance | Breeding & Maintenance

Satinette pigeons are also popularly called Old-fashioned frill pigeons. Despite being referred to as a pigeon, it belongs to the family of owls. Here, we explore various fascinating facts about this unique bird. 

What is a satinette pigeon? How to identify? 

Satinette pigeon is a fancy pigeon. It is a Turkish breed developed over many years of selective breeding. The species was explicitly bred for the Ottoman Sultans in the Manisa Palace, Turkey. The pigeon is famous by many names like the Hunkari, old-fashioned frill, old-style, and classic oriental frill.  

The breed is best identified by its color variations and markings. Its variety is also differentiated on the same parameter.  Each bird has three or more colors arranged in meticulous and perfect order and regularity.

Another distinctive feature is the white spots on its tail that are popularly called ‘the seal of the Sultan.’ It is also hallmarked by its very short beak and rounded heads.  

Where are satinette pigeons from? Its history. 

Developed from the Old-Fashioned Oriental Frill Pigeon, this fancy pigeon hails from Turkey and has an exciting history. We already know that this breed was developed after years of selective breeding at the request of the Ottoman Sultans of Turkey. Due to it, it got its name as Hunkari or ‘bird of Sultan.’ The bird was initially accessible only to the sultans and not the ordinary people.  

From Turkey, it was first imported to England in 1864 by H.P. Caridia from Izmir. Caridia was a Greek merchant of Smyrna who imported several pairs of Satinettes and Brunettes, its two most popular varieties. The man was the recognized authority on the fascinating Oriental Frill for twenty years. 

The bird was deemed as the highest type of pigeon beauty. Its first exhibition took place in 1879 in the National Columbarian Society 1879 in America. 

In the modern era, it is accessible to all and highly popular for its extremely beautiful and enchanting looks.  

Appearance and behavior of satinette pigeons 

Satinette pigeons are small to medium-sized birds, identified by several features and extremely exotic appearance. A few of its typical appearance characteristics are: 

  • Its average height is about 33 cm, and body weight varies from 310 to 340 gm.  
  • It has a smart and upright posture that stations at an approximately 45- degree angle such that the tip of the tail barely clears the floor. The eye is placed over the ball of the foot.  
  • The head is roundish to slightly oval, broad, and well-arched with an unbroken curve from the neck to the tip of the beak. Its wattle is small and neat. The area between the beak and the eye is also well-filled with no flatness on the crown. 
  • The eyes are prominent, large, and bright. Satinettes usually have bulls’ eyes, while the Blondinettes’ color can range from yellow gravel to deep red-brown.  
  • The cere is flesh-colored and fine in texture.  
  • The beak is its another distinctive feature. It is substantially thick and broad at the gape and forms a smooth, uninterrupted curve that blends into the forehead. Its color varies depending on bird variety like Satinettes have flesh-colored beaks.  
  • The wattle is heart-shaped, small, delicate, and smooth in texture with no breaks.  
  • The cheeks are full and chubby. 
  • A needle-pointed peak crest that is upright, central, and raising to the peak of the head at a minimum. A well-defined and unbroken mane supports it.  
  • The gullet is well-developed. 
  • The mane at the back and gullet makes the neck look thick and short but is robust. It is broad at the base.  
  • A well-developed and profuse frill extends from the gullet to the breast and covers it well. 
  • The broad and well-rounded breast is held forward prominently.  
  • The compact back is firm, cobby, and tapers towards the tail.  
  • The wings are strong, close to the body and lack any ‘sails.’ They have short-flight feathers. The wings lie flat on the tail.  
  • The close-fitting and short tail is carried just above the ground in the show position.  
  • The plumage is well-developed and tight. It lies flat except for the frill and the peak crest.  
  • The legs are moderate length, grouse-muffled, and well-covered with feathers, except the domino. 
  • The color of the bird is multicolor, bright, even, and smooth. Generally, its two main color varieties are well-recognized, i.e., the satinettes and the blondinettes. Other lesser-known types include visors, turbiteens, dominoes, etc.  
  • These birds exhibit a very friendly and jaunty disposition. They tend to follow their keepers and obey well.  

Types and varieties of Satinette pigeons 

Satinette pigeons are classified into different varieties based on their color variations and markings. A few of their leading types and varieties are: 


These birds are primarily white in color. Even their body, legs, face, and primary flight feathers are also white. However, their wing shields and tail can be colored. Based on their variations and markings, its varieties include: – 

Blue Laced 

Each of its feathers is edged all around in fine purple. The edging is even, distinct, regular, and well-defined. Moreover, it can be laced, arrow-pointed, or ticked. Each feather also has a clear round white spot, known as the ‘moon.’ 


It is similar to the Blue Laced but has a different color, i.e., dark red-brown instead of purple. Apart from it, the base white color and the markings remain the same.  


The color variation is again the distinctive feature here. The base color on this bird’s shoulder, wing coverts, and tail vary from pale sulfur to white while the edges flaunt color variation of dark sulfur shade. 


As evident by its name, these birds’ shoulders and wing coverts are in clear solid blue along with two clear-cut white bars. The edges are in black while its tail is blue and marked, similar to the blue-laced satinette.  


Here, the shoulder and wing coverts are dove-colored with similar white bars and brown edges at the lower extremity. Likewise, the tail is in a brown hue and marked.  


The color you find here is pale solid silver-gray and a darker shade edging at the lower extremity. As with its other varieties, the tail gray is marked.  

Black and dun laced. 

Here, each feather is edged with a black or dun hue. Likewise, the shafts of tail feathers and laced flights are in dark colors.  


In contrast to the satinettes, blondinettes are entirely colored, except shoulder, and wing coverts, which have every feather edged, laced, arrow-pointed or ticked. It has marked tails like in Satinette but has an oblong white spot at every extremity. A few of its varieties are: 

Blue Laced 

The bird flaunts a black beak, red eyes, and damson-colored cere with a bright blue body and tail color on a white background.    

Silver Laced  

This variety’s body and tail color is silver gray with the lacing of a darker shade. Its beak is of horn color, eyes are yellow while gravel and cere are of flesh color, and the tail is spotted. Its neck hackle never shows any alien color like sulfur, yellow, etc. 

Brown Laced 

Here the body, tail, and lacing shade are acorn brown, the beak is horn colored, eyes are red, and the cere is flesh-colored. Its tail can be either spotted or laced though spots are more common.  

Red Laced  

Everything is the same as the brown laced except the body, tail, and lacing shade is a deep, rich, bright red. 

Yellow Laced 

Here the eyes are yellow gravel while the body, tail, and lacing are in rich, soft yellow.  

Barred Blues 

Its body color is solid bright blue with distinctly defined two white bars. Its beak is black, eyes red edging black at lower extremity and tail, while the flights are similar to the Blue laced.  

Barred Silvers 

It has a horn-colored beak, yellow gravel eyes, a silver-gray body with two clear-cut white bars, black edging at the lower extremity, and the same tail and flights as other varieties.  

Barred browns  

Here the body color is dove gray, the beak is of horn color, eyes are red, and edging is of brown hue. Rest all are the same. 

Black and Dun Laced  

The bird is an exception here as its body ground color is white. The other color variations of eyes, cere, feather shafts are of two types- black or dun. The other features remain the same. 

Related Read: Birds Body Parts: 21 Things And Facts You Should Know


This variety is exactly like Satinettes in all features barring a few differences. Its head is always solid colored with precise cut and well-defined lines running from the bottom of the gullet to the back of the crest across the neck.  


It is similar to a normal Oriental Frill but lacks any feathers in its legs.  


They are just like normal Satinettes but differ in their markings.

What are Satinette pigeons good for? 

Because of their highly eye-catching looks, satinette pigeons are used chiefly for shows and exhibitions. However, they also make excellent pets. 

Are Satinette pigeons’ good pets? Are they friendly? 

Satinette pigeons make excellent pets, thanks to their friendly, amiable, and buoyant disposition. They follow orders well and tend to follow their owners around.  

Satinette pigeon flying/ Can Satinette pigeons fly? 

Satinette pigeons have plenty of ornamental feathers. Hence, it cannot fly as seamlessly as homing pigeons. But they can fly short distances. 

Another thing to note is that since the bird is explicitly bred for shows, competitions, and exhibitions; it has a poor sense of danger and navigation. They need to be trained to find their way home even if the distance is just a block or two.  

These birds also cannot sense danger well. Hence, they can easily fall prey to larger birds and similar threats if left by themselves to fly back home.  

Related Read: What Do Homing Pigeons Eat?

What do Satinette pigeons eat?

Satinette pigeons eat the same food that a homing pigeon or other pigeons would eat.  They should be fed a mixture of quality grains to provide them with adequate proteins and nutrients.

Other foods loved by them include pellets, seeds, corn, and diced/mashed fruits and vegetables. 

You should take care to feed them food of only good quality. Another care you should take is not to overfeed them as they can get fat. This would decrease their value as exhibition pets and also make them vulnerable prey for their extra meat.  

How Long do Satinette Pigeons live? 

When cared for properly in captivity, the satinette pigeons can live for 7 to 10 years and even beyond. If left to survive on their own, they live for two to three years and often, even less. 

How many eggs do Satinette pigeons lay? 

Satinette pigeons also lay eggs the same way as the homing pigeon. Typically, they mature in 6- or 8-months’ time. Once mature, they can lay two eggs at a time and breed eight times a year.

However, in controlled conditions, many satinettes lay two eggs every month.  

How much does a Satinette Pigeon cost? 

Depending on their color and markings, Satinette pigeons can cost anything from $24-40.    

How do you raise and take care of a Satinette pigeon? 

Satinette pigeons are hardy birds that are easy to maintain, provided you follow a few basic rules. A few handy tips include: 

  • A regular pigeon loft works well. However, the place can be less geared than that for homing pigeons. It should have an artificial nesting space created with soft leaves and grass. The loft should lack things like fine chicken wire as it can damage the pigeon’s ornamental feathers. Other accouterments like perches, natural branches, etc., should be present as well.  
  • The food should be given as per our discussion above.  
  • Like other birds, even satinettes enjoy birdbaths. Hence, it should be made available to them.  
  • As already discussed, satinettes have a poor sense of direction and navigation and are not too great flyers. Hence, they must be trained to fly back home, if required.  
  • They must be bred and raised in a safe and secure environment as they have a poor sense of incoming threats. They can be killed as prey easily.  
  • Satinettes have a problem raising and feeding their young because of their small beaks. You might need to take care of and feed the young ones. A brilliant idea is to co-raise them with other fancy pigeons with long beaks like the Capuchins. They act as surrogates and help feed the young without any hassle.  

Related Read: How Much is a Homing Pigeon Worth?

Wrapping up  

A small and sweet bird, satinettes are amazing and impress all with their beauty and amiable nature. They are friendly, social, and lovely pets that are becoming increasingly common. Kids especially adore them.  

We hope you enjoyed learning about them as much as we did compile all the interesting facts.