Tumbler pigeons are descendants of the rock pigeon. The various tumbler pigeon breeds have all been developed for their ability to tumble through the air during flight. Tumbler pigeons have been carefully bred to tumble not only from side to side, but backwards, as well. These birds, which are available in various feather configurations, colors and body shapes, make superb show pigeons, but it is for their amazing tumbling techniques, that they are best known. Tumbler pigeons are still bred for their ability to perform somersaults and back-flips and a number of tumbler breeds exist around the world.
These tumbler pigeons have their origins in the East Prussian rollers of Germany, which arrived in that country during the 1700s from Scandinavia. The birds became know as Russian tumblers in the Uniteds States, where they have been bred since the Second World War. American enthusiasts began to develop a more compact pigeon, which also possesses much longer feathers. These pigeons had stable temperaments and, being smaller than their ancestors, were economical to keep. Selective breeding plays a vital role in the continuation of the breed’s ability to tumble during flight.
The takla originated in Central Asia and were kept and bred by the nomadic Turks, who travel through Siberia, Western China and Kazakhstan. This ancient breed of tumbler was brought to the Middle East by Turkish soldiers, during the tenth century. Through dedicated and selective breeding, the takla contributed to the development of the Syrian, Iranian, Armenian and Iraqi tumblers of today.
Iranian High Flyers
The Iranian high-flying tumblers were developed for their intelligence, endurance and high-flying ability when pigeon fanciers in other parts of the old world were developing pigeon strains for their physical looks. Most prominent among those strains being bred for physical beauty were the Indian fantails and Chinese ornamental breeds. Iranian high-flyer breeders preserve this pigeon’s ability to perform aerial aerobatics by eliminating birds that don't display the ability to tumble from their future breeding programs.
English Short-faced and Long-faced Tumblers
Short-faced tumblers were developed in England during the nineteenth century more for showing than for their tumbling ability. This selective breeding eventually resulted in a pigeon with an extremely short face that was used exclusively for show purposes. As the short-faced tumblers became progressively less able to perform aerial manoeuvres, a long-faced tumbler, which could fly and somersault, was developed. Once the long-faced strain of tumbler became incorporated into the show scene, English pigeon fanciers began to develop additional breeds, termed “tripplers” and “flights” for flying.