Bokhara Trumpeter: Breed Guide

One of the most popular types of trumpeter pigeons, the Bokhara Trumpeter is particularly known for its long muffed feet and fantastic double crest.

a bokhara trumpeter pigeon

Origins of the Bokhara Trumpeter

The Bokhara Trumpeter is a breed of fancy pigeon that has been developed into its current standard over years of selective and dedicated breeding.

Originally cultivated for its voice, it is now also prized for its feather ornaments, the Bokhara Trumpeter is known particularly for its long muffed feet and a fantastic double crest.

Various famous pigeon authors have documented the origins of this striking breed.

The research of C A M Spruijt (The Structure of Pigeons) and Edmund Zurth (The World of Pigeons) led them to conclude that areas of Southern Russia, Central Asia and Turkestan is the region of origin.

The assumption is that the Russian town of Bukhara/Bokhara which gives the breed its name is the most likely cradle of the breed.

Old Bokhara, now in Uzbekistan,  was an ancient trading gateway between Europe and Asia and also played an important role in increasing the number of pigeon breeds in the Western World.

Pigeons were traditionally kept in mosques and were a very familiar sight in the city and the surrounding fields.

Many different breeds of pigeons were also owned by the traders and caravan owners so when western traders came into contact, pigeon breeds were often exchanged.

One of the first recorded imports into Britain was by George Ure in 1850 who took delivery of some Bokhara from Moscow.

Another import under the guidance of Captain Mewburn is documented a few years later.

However, the first Westerner to describe the Bokhara Trumpeter was John Moore who included it in his book Columbarium in 1735.

Further history is recorded in 1874 by Robert Fulton in one of the most important books in the pigeon world, The Book of Pigeons.

Bokhara Trumpeters imported into London by Messrs. John Bailey and Sons were stunningly illustrated by Joseph Williamson Ludlow.

Via various routes and some interesting stories, Bokhara trumpeters finally ended up with Herbert Smith, a famous Jacobin pigeon judge and breeder.

Smith is widely accredited for developing the breed as it is known today.

By 1948, there was a specialty club in the USA but thanks to a slightly different route to breed taken by the Americans (most notably Al and Brian Grace), there are some differences between European Bokhara Trumpeters and American Bokhara Trumpeters.

This has been a potted history. The full story of the Bokhara Trumpeter is full of characters and is truly fascinating to pigeon lovers.

Distribution And Habitat of The Bokhara Trumpeter

Despite its British and European roots, in terms of modern distribution, you are much more likely to find a Bokhara Trumpeter in the United States.

Currently, the Bokhara is one of the most popular breeds of Trumpeter in the United States.

UK breeders are still dedicated to the perfection of the breed and the breed is also popular in the Far East.

When it comes to habitat, the Bokhara Trumpeter is a breed of pigeon that is very well suited to the comfortable confines of a domestic set-up.

Their size and physical attributes don’t make them very successful flyers, so this does not need to be on the top of the priority list when thinking about housing them.

Bokhara Trumpeters are happy and content to be housed in a traditional domestic pigeon set up that follows all the appropriate rules of hygiene and cleanliness.

Appearance of the Bokhara Trumpeter

Their physical appearance is the most interesting thing about the Bokhara Trumpeter.

Wingspan Length Weight Coloring
Bokhara Trumpeter Pigeon66 – 80 cm30 – 38 cm 350 – 380 gBlack, blue checkered or barred, white, red and yellow  
Average Feral Pigeon64 – 72 cm32 – 37cm300 – 500 gBluish grey with some black.

The most striking characteristic is the breed’s lengthy, full feathers that grow on their feet, along with a double crest that almost completely obscures the bird’s eyes.

To some, this froufrou appearance makes them reminiscent of an Old English Sheepdog!

This pigeon has the nickname of “Rose of Pigeon Fancy” as rose is the name given to its elaborate crest.

Bokhara Trumpeters are a solid medium size, with a short neck that compliments a long body. Their heads are of an average length with a medium-sized beak.

The beak tends to be the same color as the feathering. Due to the elongated wing feathers and long tail, the impression is of a much longer bird.

The feathers on the feet of a Bokhara Trumpeter can sometimes grow to be more than 28 cm (10 inches) long and will often trail on the ground.

Bokhara Trumpeters can be black, blue checkered, white, red or yellow and on average, a mature bird will weigh in the region of 370 grams.

Character of the Bokhara Trumpeter

The Bokhara Trumpeter is known for being a very gentle breed, almost bordering on lazy in the opinions of some fanciers!

They have sweet personalities and tend to remain very calm in the presence of people and other pets.

However, and it’s quite a big however, this breed is considered by many as being difficult because they are arrogant and stubborn.

This can make breeding difficult.

Bokhara trumpeters are not great flyers, but another endearing trait is their vocalizations.

This bird’s name reflects its main town of origin and also refers to the sound it makes. Indeed, the trumpeter was originally cultivated for the purpose of developing their voice.

Called drumming by German and Low Countries breeders and trumpeting by UK and US fanciers, it is a deep sound that is maintained for a long time with short interruptions.

It has been described as being woek-woek-woek, alternating with wak-wak-wak repeated quickly.

Vocalization is mainly heard during the breeding season.

The voice is of secondary importance these days with the bird’s extensive feathering now being the primary reason that people desire them.

Diet of the Bokhara Trumpeter

This breed requires the same diet as most medium-sized domestic pigeons. A granivorous bird requires a variety of seeds, grains, grasses, nuts and berries.

To ensure birds get all the vitamins a pigeon needs main feed can be supplemented with fruit like bananas, other foodstuffs like mealworms and as a treat, something like popcorn.

Of course, they need fresh drinking water.

Bokhara Trumpeter Mating and Breeding

The breed’s tendency towards laziness and stubbornness means that they aren’t the most successful breeders.

They also aren’t the most attentive parents.

When they are encouraged to breed by owners, pairs are selected based on certain traits and characteristics that they want to be continued.

This will often relate to things like body size, feather length, coloring and overall good health and behavior.

Taking Care of Bokhara Trumpeter Pigeons

If you don’t mind managing their not-so-desirable character traits (which most owners and breeders actually find endearing)  the Bokhara Trumpeter is a laid-back and calm breed, which makes them very easy to care for if you have the right setup.

This means a spacious loft that is clean and well-kempt with access to direct sunlight and, of course, access to appropriate food and drinking water.

Raising them as exhibition birds and meeting show standards is an excellent challenge for dedicated pigeon fanciers.

Denise Bereford

Denise Bereford is a full-time writer and researcher with a long-standing passion for pigeons.

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