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A white Araucana hen showing ear-tufts
Conservation statusFAO (2007): not at risk[1]
Other names
  • Spanish: Gallina Mapuche
  • Mapuche Fowl
  • South American Rumpless
Country of originChile
  • Male:
    Large: 2.7–3.2 kg[2]: 44 
    Bantam: 740–850 g[2]: 45 
  • Female:
    Large: 2.2–2.7 kg[2]: 44 
    Bantam: 680–790 g[2]: 45 
Skin colourwhite
Egg colourblue or green[2]: 40 
Comb typepea[2]: 40 
APAAll other standard breeds[3]
ABAAll other comb clean leg
PCGBSoft feather: light[4]
APSlight breed softfeather
An Araucana egg (left) with white and brown eggs for comparison.

The Araucana (Spanish: Gallina Mapuche) is a breed of domestic chicken from Chile. Its name derives from the Araucanía region of Chile where it is believed to have originated. It lays blue-shelled eggs, one of very few breeds that do so.

Breed standards for the Araucana vary from country to country. It may have unusual tufts of feathers on the ears, and may be rumpless, without a tail and tailbone; in the United States, it may, for this reason, be known as the South American Rumpless. Both ear tufts and rumplessness are caused by lethal genes, so not all birds display these traits. The Ameraucana breed and "Easter egger" hybrids of the United States, which also lay blue or green eggs, both derive from the Araucana.


The early history of the Araucana chicken is not documented. The birds were commonly seen in South America in the early twentieth century.[5]: 16  The Spanish aviculturist Salvador Castelló, who visited Chile in 1914, saw them and named them "Gallina Araucana", as many were found among the Mapuche people of the Araucanía region of Chile, whom the Spanish called Araucanos. Castelló believed the birds to belong to a new species, and reported his observations at the First World's Poultry Congress in The Hague in 1921. The systematic name Gallus inauris was proposed for them, and adopted at the Second World's Poultry Congress in Barcelona in 1924.[6] It was later established that the Araucana belongs to the same species as other domestic chickens, Gallus gallus domesticus.[5]: 16–17 

The blue egg of the Araucana was at this time thought to be unique among chickens. In 1933 Reginald Punnett showed that the blue egg ("oocyan") gene in chickens is dominant concerning white, while in combination with genes for brown eggs, various shades of green and olive are produced.[5]: 17 [6] In modern times, the Ameraucana breed, a derivative of the Araucana, also lays blue eggs, while hybrid birds carrying the dominant ocean gene may in the United States be called "Easter eggers".

Several theories have been advanced to explain the origin of the blue egg characteristic. It has been variously attributed to hybridisation with Tinamus solitarius, a species of tinamou (dismissed as "erroneous" by Helmut Sick);[7]: 347 [8] to genetic mutation;[9]: 349  and to the action of a retrovirus soon after the domestication of the chicken.[10]

Blue Araucana eggs were taken to Australia from New Zealand in the 1930s. The breed was standardised in the 1980s.[11]

Blue-egg chickens from South America were introduced to the British Isles at various times in the early twentieth century. The modern British-type Araucana derives from birds from a Chilean ship that was wrecked in the Hebrides.[12] The British Araucana was developed mainly by George Malcolm in Scotland in the 1930s.[2]: 40 . He introduced the Lavender plumage variety and bred the bantam Araucana in the 1940s.[12] The British-type Araucana was standardised in 1969[11] or 1974.[13]

In the United States, two breeds were established: the Araucana, which has ear-tufts and is rumpless, was standardised in 1976: the Ameraucana, which is bearded, muffed, and tailed (and thus similar to the tailed British type), was added to the Standard of Perfection in 1984.

There has been a long and inconclusive debate about the origin of the Araucana and whether it derives from chickens brought by Europeans after Columbus reached the Americas in 1492, or if it was already present. A report published in 2007 on chicken bones found on the Arauco Peninsula in south-central Chile suggested pre-Columbian, possibly Polynesian, origin.[14] A report published in 2008 found no evidence of pre-Columbian introduction from Polynesia.[15]

The worldwide conservation status of the Araucana is "not at risk";[16] population data for Chile is not reported.[17]


There are both full-sized and bantam Araucanas.[18] They may be either normally tailed or rumpless. The Araucana has a pea comb and lays approximately 250 blue or green eggs per year.[12]

In Australia, only the tailed Araucana is recognised in the Australian Poultry Standards;[19] both tailed and rumpless may be exhibited.[11]

The British standard accepts both tailed and rumpless;[18] they may be treated as separate breeds.[20][21] The British type of Araucana has a beard and muffs which conceal the earlobes.

In North America, Araucanas have long ear tufts and are rumpless. As both ear tufts and rumplessness are caused by autosomal dominant lethal alleles, not all of the birds can display these traits.[22]

A total of twenty plumage varieties are listed for the Araucana by the Entente Européenne d’Aviculture et de Cuniculture.[23] Of these, five are recognised by the American Poultry Association for large fowl: black, black-breasted red, silver duckwing, golden duckwing, and white; for bantams, the buff is added to these.[3] The Australian Poultry Standard recognises black, cuckoo, lavender, splash, white and any colour which is standard in Old English Game.[19] The Poultry Club of Great Britain recognises twelve colours: black, black-red, blue, blue-red, crele, cuckoo, golden duckwing, lavender, pile, silver duckwing, spangled, and white.[2]: 43–44 


  1. ^ Barbara Rischkowsky, D. Pilling (eds.) (2007). List of breeds documented in the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources, annex to The State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 9789251057629. Accessed June 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Victoria Roberts (2008). British poultry standards: complete specifications and judging points of all standardized breeds and varieties of poultry as compiled by the specialist breed clubs and recognised by the Poultry Club of Great Britain. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 9781405156424.
  3. ^ a b APA Recognized Breeds and Varieties: As of January 1, 2012. American Poultry Association. Archived 4 November 2017.
  4. ^ Breed Classification. Poultry Club of Great Britain. Archived 17 June 2011.
  5. ^ a b c Nestor Fabio Valencia Llano (2011). La gallina criolla colombiana (in Spanish). Colombia: Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Sede Palmira. ISBN 9789588095561.
  6. ^ a b Punnett R (1933). "Genetic studies in poultry: IX. The blue egg" (PDF). Journal of Genetics. 27 (3): 465–470. doi:10.1007/BF02981757. S2CID 52805033. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 October 2016.
  7. ^ Eugene M. McCarthy (2006). Handbook of Avian Hybrids of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9781429405256.
  8. ^ Helmut Sick, William Beldon (translator) (1993). Birds in Brazil: A Natural History. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691085692.
  9. ^ Frederick Bruce Hutt (1949). Genetics of the fowl. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  10. ^ Wragg D, Mwacharo JM, Alcalde JA, Wang C, Han JL, Gongora J, Gourichon D, Tixier-Boichard M, Lanotte O (2013). "Endogenous Retrovirus EAV-HP Linked to Blue Egg Phenotype in Mapuche Fowl". PLOS ONE. 8 (8): e71393. Bibcode:2013PLoSO...871393W. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071393. PMC 3747184. PMID 23990950.
  11. ^ a b c Breeds In Focus: February 2013 - Araucana. The Rare Poultry Breeders' Association (Australia). Archived 12 June 2013.
  12. ^ a b c Araucana (British type). Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Archived 3 October 2015.
  13. ^ History. The British Araucana Club. Archived 10 July 2016.
  14. ^ Storey AA, Ramírez JM, Quiroz D, et al. (June 2007). "Radiocarbon and DNA evidence for a pre-Columbian introduction of Polynesian chickens to Chile". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 104 (25): 10335–9. Bibcode:2007PNAS..10410335S. doi:10.1073/pnas.0703993104. PMC 1965514. PMID 17556540.
  15. ^ Gongora J, Rawlence NJ, Mobegi VA, et al. (July 2008). "Indo-European and Asian origins for Chilean and Pacific chickens revealed by mtDNA". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 105 (30): 10308–13. Bibcode:2008PNAS..10510308G. doi:10.1073/pnas.0801991105. PMC 2492461. PMID 18663216.
  16. ^ Transboundary breed: Araucana. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed October 2016.
  17. ^ Araucana/Chile. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed October 2016.
  18. ^ a b The Breed Standard. British Araucana Club. Archived 6 February 2013.
  19. ^ a b Australian Poultry Standards, 2nd Edition 2012
  20. ^ Araucana Spitzhauben/United Kingdom. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed October 2016.
  21. ^ Araucana (Rumpless)/United Kingdom. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed October 2016.
  22. ^ Somes Jr., R.G.; Pabilonia, M.S. (1981). "Ear tuftedness: a lethal condition in the Araucana fowl". The Journal of Heredity. 72 (2): 121–4. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.jhered.a109439. PMID 7276512.
  23. ^ Liste des races et variétés homologuée dans les pays EE (28.04.2013). Entente Européenne d’Aviculture et de Cuniculture. Archived 16 June 2013.