They are also known as gut, gud and kut in our country (Turkey). Around the world known as "Ankut Trumpeter" or "Ankhut Trumpeter" this breed is generally named Ankut in Turkey. Their origins go back to Turkish history in the Central Asia. Even though, they are one of our national breeds, they have been distributed around the globe during the migration of Turks in time. These migrations have not been at a certain time or a to a certain destination but in different time periods were directed to different locations in the world. Because of this, Ankuts have been distributed to Russia through Central Asia and to Europe through Anatolia. Around the world there are many Trumpeter breeds. In Turkey there are 3 different breeds that fall under this class of breeds. These are Ankut, Kumru and Demkeş. All three of these breeds' common trait is their ability to trumpet or as we call it "dem çekme". This terminology is used in the mystic music of Sufism and in general in Turkish music, where an instrument accompanies the singer alone in solo sections of the songs. This is done to prevent the singer to loose his/her note. Ankuts, before the Turks converted to Muslim religion, had a special value for Turks and the other shaman traditions. They were considered to bring good luck. In these tribes, when an Ankut landed on a tent (shaman Turks lived as nomads) and sing its song in the morning of a birth of a boy, it was thought the boy would have shaman powers.Ankuts and Taklas at night
Ankuts have a special place and importance for the Turkish people. One of the most important reasons for this is Hz. Ali, one of the caliphates of the Hz. Muhammed the prophet of Muslim religion, actually had raised this breed. Evliya Çelebi also wrote that Hz. Ali kept these red, double crested and muffed birds hence it is a good deed to keep them. Birds mentioned here are the birds we call Ankut today. In the famous "Seyahatname" (travel diaries) of Evliya Çelebi, it is stated that the grand son of Hz. Muhammed and the son of Hz. Ali, Imam Hüseyin, who was killed in the battle of Kerbela in year 680, was a known hawk and falcon hunter, and also kept Ankuts. Because of this, Evliya Çelebi wrote that the people who hunted birds with birds in İstanbul (1638) thought that their spiritual leader was Imam Hüseyin. Because of this kept Ankuts also. Again Evliya Çelebi states that at the time there were plain headed, double crested and muffed versions of Ankuts.Group of Ankuts with Adana, Posta, Mısıri, Mavibaş, and other Diyarbakır breeds.
Today in Urfa Ankuts believed to bring good luck. This belief has it is roots in the history. Ankuts, known to be also kept by Hz. Eyüp in his cave, are believed by the people to bring good luck to ladies who could not bare children and also to be a remedy for ladies who have night time sleeping disorders. Hz. Eyüp, who had leprosy (Henson's disease), had removed himself from everyone and moved into a cave and continued his life there. His wife had taken care of him in this cave for the rest of his life. In this very cave he kept Ankuts to accompany him. Today this cave exists about 2 km. south of the city center of Urfa in the Eyyubi neighborhood on top of a hill. Local people still visit this cave for healing purposes. Group of Ankuts and Taklas in a coop
Even though, Ankuts have such a deep and rooted place in our society, and it is considered to be a good deed to keep them in our religion, the number of fanciers who keep them have greatly diminished and the breed has become endangered to be extinct. Today, they mostly exist in South and South-East Turkey especially in the city of Diyarbakır. I have heard from the fanciers of Konya that they were kept in the city of Nevşehir also. Today, every once in a while I run into Ankuts in the pigeon bazaars but these birds are far from the proper form of the breed. Most likely these are mix birds. Most obvious differences on these birds with real Ankuts are the shape and length of muffs being out of form, crests not being in proper shape, dullness of the color of the bird (even at times having other colors mixed into them), variation of beak color (see photo below) and absence or the lack of voice qualities.Type of Ankuts found in bazaars far from original form, color and voice.
Ankuts are also raised in Russia. While we are unable to comprehend the value of Ankuts the some Russian sources claim ownership of the breed. However, other Russian sources point out the origin of Russian trumpeter (Russian Barabanshik) and Bokhara trumpeter (Bokharski Barabanshik) coming from Ankut. Known as Ankut trumpeter and Ankhut trumpeter around the world, these birds are not a flight breed. They are kept in lofts and courtyards for their form and most importantly their singing what is called "dem çekme". Fanciers value them based on their voice quality and the length of song. They have a very peculiar singing voice. A good Ankut should be singing for minimum 40 to 45 minutes non stop.Ankuts molting
Ankuts come in one color. It is a very dark brick-red color with a shade of scarlet in it. Tone of the color can vary slightly to lighter or darker shades. However, it must always be very bright. There is also a version named "ala gut" where the wings white and the rest of the body is the standard brick-red. They must have their muffs in what we call "kamış paça" long and curved towards back. There is no clean-legged Ankuts and they are always double crested. Crests must be strait in both sides. Every once in a while it is possible to run into a single nose crested Ankut but these birds are definitely mixed varieties and considered to be valueless.
In Turkey there are other voice breeds like Demkeş and Kumru. Red Demkeş is very similar to Ankut. However, it is a larger bird then Ankut. Their voices are also very different then each other. In the region of Konya it is thought that the Ankuts and Demkeş's eat the spiders in stables and barns. Because of this in this region both breeds are known as barn birds.
Ankuts are rapidly declining in numbers today. Strong steps towards their protection must be taken rather soon. Even though, the fanciers have a lot of responsibilities in this aspect, in my opinion the city governments must start to be sensitive towards protection of breeds like Ankuts. Today many cities' government offices are working towards maintaining and protecting the authentic qualities of their region and bringing the traditional values forward. Same sensitivity is also needed for breeds like Ankut that faces extinction.