Fawn Zebra Finch
Fawn Zebra Finches. Male (right) and female (left)

Mutation Effects
Inheritance: Sex-linked

Male: The fawn mutation changes the normal gray and black coloring to a light brown or fawn coloring with dark brown markings. The male cheek and flank marks are nearly the same color as the normal, but are slightly diluted. Males will often have a buff colored belly and some standards consider this a fault, preferring a white underside, while other standards call for it. All markings normally black will be changed to a dark, chocolate brown. The base gray color changes to the light brown. There is some variation in the depth of that color.

Female: Like the male, the base color is changed to a light brown or fawn color. Tear mark and tail markings are dark brown. The belly will be buff like the normal if not more so.

Fledglings: Fawn chicks will have light colored skin in the nest compared to the dark, near black of the normals. The beak will be horn-colored. As soon as the feathers are visible, the fawn coloring can be seen. The eyes of the chicks may appear ruby red.

Fawn nestling in with its Gray siblings (click to view)

Identifying Splits
Male: There are no sure fire ways to determine if a male is split for fawn other than breeding. The advantage with a sex-linked gene is that any male that is split for Fawn will produce fawn hens no matter what he is paired to. Some Gray males can be identified as being split for Fawn by a buff belly and traces of brown in the wings, but since some brown in the wings is normal for a Gray Zebra, this is not a sure way to determine splits. This method is best used in a single line or family of birds that has both splits and non-splits to compare to.

Female: Females cannot be split for a sex linked gene.

The Fawn mutation is now considered a base color like Gray. You will often hear breeders referring to 'Gray series' or 'Fawn series' as to what the base color is. As a result, the fawn mutation can be combined with all other mutations and is not really in conflict with any particular mutation. The attractiveness of the combination is a matter of person taste. Combinations with the dilute varieties, both dominant and recessive, are often referred to as Creams and are quite attractive. Many breeders will combine Fawn with Orange Breast and Black Breast because the combination seems to enhance the orange coloring or reduce the flaws of dark feathering in these orange areas. When combined with the white colored birds, fawn can help reduce the dark flaws often associated with Gray series birds of that mutation. That includes Florida Fancies and pure Whites. The reason for having a Fawn series White is to reduce the occasional gray feather or flecking on the head that often spoils the appearance of the all white bird. When combined with the Fawn Cheek mutation, the cheek patches of both males and females will be fawn colored. The Fawn cheek mutation on a Gray series bird has gray cheek patches.

Combinations with the other sex-linked mutations requires a genetic phenomenon known as crossing over to occur before Fawn and the other mutation can be combined. Crossing over is a random occurrence so one cannot predict how long, if ever, before the combination will occur. Fawn Lightbacks can be attractive birds, but are not easily distinguished from regular Fawns except for the white belly in both sexes. Fawn CFWs are occasionally seen, but I do not find them that attractive. I think the charm in the CFW comes from the contrast of normal markings on an otherwise white bird. The diluted markings on a Fawn CFW do not have the contrast to make them appealing to me.

Black Breasted Fawn (click to view)
Black Breasted Fawn hen (click to view)
Black Face Black Breasted Fawn (click to view)

Dominant Silver Fawn - 'Cream' (click to view)
Orange Breasted Black Breasted Fawn (click to view)
Orange Breasted Black Breasted Fawn pair (click to view)
Fawn Cheek hen - a Fawn and Fawn Cheek combination (click to view)
Fawn Chestnut Flanked Whites (click to view)
Fawn Continental CFW hen (click to view)
Fawn Continental CFW fledgling with Fawn father (click to view)

Fawn birds that are left in the sun can have their color faded or bleached. This is usually not an even bleaching, but will give the bird a blotchy appearance. The regular color will return after the next molt. If you intend to show your Fawn birds, it may be prudent not to keep them outside.

Fawn birds often have a type of feathering known as buff. This is a 'fluffier' feather type and often helps with the apparent type and size of the bird. Buff feathered birds can have markings that are not as sharp or crisp looking though and with the Fawns tendency to have a really buff type of feathering, markings can suffer. The best matings may come from buff x tight feathered birds.

The Fawn used to be known as 'Cinnamon', but that term is no longer used. The name Cinnamon should be applied to yellow ground birds like the Canary and Fawn to white ground birds like the Zebra.

Fawn males