Sicilian Buttercup: A Blossoming Beauty

By Chicken Fans Editorial Team

The Sicilian Buttercup is a captivating chicken breed combining elegance and Italian style. With its striking buttercup comb and golden buff plumage, this breed has earned the nickname ‘Flowerbird’, referring to the comb’s resemblance to the delicate petals of a buttercup flower.

  • Buttercup hens lay around 2 to 3 eggs weekly
  • Heritage breed, considered rare
  • Active foragers, can be flighty
  • Originating in Italy
  • Not cold-hardy
Eggs140-180 eggs yearly
Egg ColorWhite
Egg SizeSmall to medium
Weight5.5 – 6.5 lbs
HardinessHeat, not cold-hardy
ColorA rich golden buff color


The Sicilian Buttercup is renowned for its distinctive appearance. It’s the only chicken breed with a buttercup comb, which consists of two single combs merging over the beak and at the back.

A butternut comb is totally unique for this breed in the poultry world but is a recognized comb type by the American Poultry Association. According to them, the comb should look like “a cup-shaped crown well set on the center of the skull and surrounded by a complete circle of medium-size regular points”.

The Buttercup’s golden buff plumage is decorated with black spangles in parallel rows. Both males and females exhibit a lustrous greenish-black color in their black colors. With willow-green shanks and toes, yellow skin, white earlobes, reddish bay eyes, and a light horn-colored beak, Buttercup chickens possess a combination of characteristics that contribute to their charm.


While Buttercup chickens are generally calm, they are highly active and curious chickens. Their interested nature leads them to be fantastic foragers. Sicilian Buttercups enjoy scratching and digging. They thrive in free-ranging environments where they can freely engage their natural instincts. They are not the best breed to keep in a small run.

In terms of temperament, Buttercups vary depending on the strain. Some strains exhibit almost wild and reactive behavior towards humans, while others are known to be docile, friendly, and sweet.

the colors of a sicilian buttercup chicken
Credits: @olivenhain_farms (IG)

Early handling from a young age can play a significant role in shaping their sociability. It is important to note that individual personalities will vary, and not all Buttercups will display the same temperament.

The Sicilian Buttercup excels in warmer climates, a result of its Mediterranean origin. They are well-adapted to withstand and thrive in warm weather conditions. However, they are not particularly fond of cold temperatures. Their preference for hot climates makes them suitable for regions with mostly warm or mild climates.

Egg Production

Sicilian Buttercups are considered to be moderate egg layers. On average, they lay around 140-180 small-sized white eggs annually. They are not cold-hardy, so most Sicilian Buttercups will temporarily slow down or stop egg production during winter.

While their egg production may not be as prolific as other breeds, their unique appearance makes them highly valued by chicken enthusiasts.

The Sicilian Buttercup is considered to be a non-broody breed. This means they are less likely to exhibit strong maternal instincts or a desire to sit on eggs to hatch them. Non-broody chickens focus more on their foraging and egg-laying activities rather than raising chicks.

Sicilian Buttercup Chicken Breed Profile

The origins of the Buttercup chicken are somewhat mysterious, but they are believed to originate in Sicily, an Italian island. The exact timeline of their origin is unsure, but the breed’s unique comb and green legs have been maintained by Sicilian farmers for centuries.

The first documented observation of the Buttercup chicken appears in Poultry Fancier in 1913, describing their introduction by a sea captain who brought some on a sea voyage for meat.

The first recorded import of Buttercups from Sicily to the US is believed to have happened around 1835.

But it wasn’t until 1908 that two individuals, Dumaresq and Audigier, successfully promoted the Buttercup breed. Audigier was the publisher of “Industrious Hen” and boosted awareness of the breed.

The Buttercup chicken was recognized in the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection in 1918.

Today, all Buttercup stock in North America can be traced back to a specific importation that arrived in 1892. Its status is considered critical.


The Sicilian Buttercup is a beautiful and rare chicken breed from Sicily, Italy. Known for its distinct buttercup comb type, the breed also features golden buff plumage with black spangles, and willow green shanks and toes.

While their egg production is moderate, they are valued for their active nature, making them excellent foragers. They need plenty of backyard space to stretch their legs.

To learn more about chicken breeds, check out our ‘Chicken Breeds Page‘ to see every specific breed we address. Or go to our listicle breed summary on ‘The Classroom‘, or, if you’re unsure where to start, take a look at our ‘Chicken Breeds: Ultimate Beginners Guide‘.

Credits Featured Image: @olivenhain_farms (IG)

Chicken Fans Editorial Team

The editorial team consists of 3rd generation chicken owners Kat, journalist, editor-in-chief, and Nick, working with illustrators and specialists in the field.