This breed is only raised in Trakya (Thrace) around Edirne, Kırklareli, Tekirdağ and the surrounding towns. Trakya (known to west as the Thrace) is the name for the small portion of Turkey that sits at the tip of Eastern Europe. It is surrounded by Marmara Sea to south, Black Sea to northeast and Aegean Sea to southwest. Bulgaria in the north and Greece in the west make the European borders of the Thrace. The city of Istanbul and its 12 million population's main portion occupy a corner of this land. There is almost no information available on the origin of this breed. In Turkey it is called "Yerli" (merely means the local one) or "Rumeli" (another nickname for the European portion of the country). It could most likely be related to the Oriental Roller. This mid size bird is very similar to the Oriental Roller in body shape. However, unlike the Oriental Rollers, the tail, which consists of 14 to 18 feathers, does not stand up and the wings are carried above it. It is possible to see birds that carry their wings beside the tail and one or both below the tail. In general these birds are known to be mixed. One of the reasons for this is the flow of imported birds from the Balkans in recent years. Mixing of breeds also becomes obvious from shortening beaks.
Beak of the pure birds in this breed is always medium size. Thrace roller comes in the colors of white self, black self, dirty blue bar, red self and very rarely yellow self and dirty blue dark check. Blues are named "Küllü" (Smokey), dark checks "Tekir" and yellow selfs "Kanarya" (Canary bird). It is very important for the birds, besides the whites, to not to have white feathers. Beak color must be white and must have a small spot at the tip to match the color of the bird. In blues it is possible to see purple colored beaks. Besides the whites, which have only black eyes, all birds come with light color eyes. These birds have mid sized clean legs and this is a very sensitive area for the breeders. As much as, the temporary very small feathering on the legs during the birds baby age, which drops with the first molt and does not get replaced, is a good reason to never let it breed as an adult, regardless of how perfect the bird is with its other qualities.
In this breed it is possible to see clean headed and head crested birds. The crest must start from below the neck line and must wrap around the head from ear to ear. The ends of the crest must be in the shape of a rose, not like a fading line. When this rose is only on one side, the crest starts above the neckline, small or crooked crest are reasons for the bird to be disqualified as a breeder. Since the breeders only pair same color birds together, there are visible physical differences between each color group of birds. This is most obvious with the white self birds. One of the reasons for this is the fear of white coloring on a bird. Very rarely breeders do pair up different colors together but, never with whites.
This is a very timid breed. They start cooing as soon as some one enters the coop and if they are tried to be caught will climb the walls.
The main goal of the breeds is to have beautiful birds with high flight performance.
However, in recent years the importance has been slowly shifting to looks and the flight qualities have been deteriorating. One of the main treasons for this, as I mentioned before, is the crossbreeding with imported Balkan birds. These birds are strictly show birds and have no flight skills. In the past flight and performance skills were considered more important than the looks. High and long flying birds that do not roll frequently but roll with quality were valuable. They had to gain altitude as group together and as soon as one starts rolling in a line drop the rest had to follow it. It is very similar to watching many spiders dropping in their line at the same time.
These drops would be between 10 to 20 meters and at the end they would raise again. Some breeders would send another kit up to encourage the first kit for more rolls. At times there would be 40-50 birds flown. These birds get together in groups of 5 to 10 in the air and fly separately than the other groups.
Another problem with this breed, besides being so timid, is that they don't pay attention to a dropper much. Sometimes they completely ignore it and this makes it very difficult to control them.
Today it is possible to run into a fancier that still raises these birds for flight and still possible to find birds that fly 3 to 5 hrs in clouds and, perform long and tight.
Prof. Dr. Türker Savaş