Can You Identify This Mystery Chicken Breed?

This rare Mediterranean mystery chicken breed is named for its distinctive comb, and the heritage bird is both fast-maturing and a peerless free-ranger.

by Chickens Magazine HQ
PHOTO: Diane Jacky

Chickens and other poultry members come in all sizes, shapes, colors and personalities. Nearly 400 recognized breeds and varieties of poultry exist, including large-fowl and bantam chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and guinea fowl. Using our illustration and a few selected hints, can you guess the mystery chicken breed we have depicted here? Find out the answer below!


  • This chicken breed gets its name from its comb, which looks like a cup-shaped crown with a complete circle of medium-sized regular points. 
  • This rare Mediterranean breed was imported from Sicily over a century ago.
  • Murray McMurray Hatchery says that males and females don’t look alike. “Males are a rich, brilliant orange-red with some black spangles on their bodies and cape feathers at the base of the hackle and a lustrous, greenish-black tail. Females are buff-colored with parallel rows of black elongated spangles across their bodies.”
  • They aren’t named after margarine, shortening or lard but a close relative. 

Mystery Breed Answer

The chicken breed depicted above is the Sicilian Buttercup, a heritage layer that produces medium-sized white eggs. Although its exact origins are unknown, Sicilian farmers reared the breed for centuries before importation to America in 1835. The breed is slender and elegant like other breeds of the Mediterranean.

Adult males weigh 6 1/2 pounds; hens, 5. Sicilian Buttercups are fast-maturing, peerless free-rangers, flighty and good fliers that don’t adapt well to confinement.

The American Poultry Association admitted the breed into the Standard of Perfection in 1918. To learn more about this beautiful breed, click here

This mystery chicken breed was brought to you by Murray McMurray Hatcherywhich provides the highest quality poultry and auxiliary products to its customers and has been a trusted, knowledgeable industry resource for more than 100 years. Whether you are an experienced or novice enthusiast, Murray McMurray is sure you will enjoy its wide selection of breeds and supplies to assist you with raising your flock!

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2022 issue of Chickens magazine.

Subscribe now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *