In Malaysia the home country of the serama there is no set breed standard as such. And the breed tends to follow traits depending on regions and individual breeder ideals. Though this said they all follow a general scoring system on which they are judged at beauty contests.
Image drawn free hand by Julia Rees
What do they look for in a beauty contest?
Warna - This means the colour of the bird, in Malaysia colours do factor in how well a bird does in a beauty contest. While the highest score is 10% this is rarely awarded, with a score of between 8 or 9 being the usual highest score achieved. The more beautiful the colour and the more shine on the feather the higher the points allocated. Colours which are given preference are reds, golden, lemon / yellow-buff, black-red and browns. Less popular are whites, dirty whites, mottleds and greys. Beautiful vivid and bright coloured birds are far more likely to gain higher points at a beauty contest.
Lawi - This means the sickle feathers, which are the 2 ornamental tail feathers which are pronounced in males and are situated right at the very front of the tail, closest to the neck. The sickle feathers must be equal in length and they must extend approximately one inch above the rest of the tail,and should be stiff and held straight in an upright position. Soft flopping sickles are faulty and undesirable. Those which are too long and curl over are also undesirable.The full score for perfect sickles is 5%.
Ekor - This is the tail and its carriage. The main tail feathers, the ones immediately after the sickles should overlap slighly and uniformly over one another. There should be 5 or more main tail feathers on each side of the tail and they should all be of complimenting lengths, meaning that they should taper in size neatly. For example short feathers in between correct length feathers are not attractive. The side hangers, which are the soft glossy crescent shaped feathers which hand over both sides of the tail should be, well curved, be glossy with lustrous shine and there should be 5 or 6 of these each side of the tail. Both sides of the tail must complemtent eachotherand be equal in feather quantities. The tail should be of medium fullness, and not overly fanned or overly tight. The best example of the shape of a perfect serama tail is the leaf of the Betel Vine seen below. The highest score for a perfect tail is 15%.
Sayap - This means wing carriage. The wings on a serama are very important to the entire stance of the bird, and must be held in vertical position when the bird is relaxed. An excited bird must not pull the wings backwards and up, this is poor form and such birds are disqualified. When excited or in beauty contests the serama should lift it's wings forward in front of the legs as though a puppet lifting it's arms as was described by the breed's creator Wee Yean Een, after a character "Sri-Rama" from these plays the serama took it's name. The wings should not be too long so as to prevent upright chest carriage or so as to cause a bird to lean forward to accomodate its wings. The perfect length of the wing is to the level of the foot and not dragging the floor. The maximum pointsscore for perfect wings is 7%.
Kaki /Alas - This means the feet (kaki) and legs (Alas). The serama's legs must be fairly long, though not overly long so as to make the bird appear overly tall. Serama must never have short stumpy legs like the Japanese bantam, this is severely discouraged. A very bad trait. In Malaysia the serama has strong straight legs which should stride confidently without the appearance of squatting or bending the knees excessively. Points are deducted for birds which squat during a beauty contest. The highest points score for perfect legs is 5%.
Tubuh - This means the body. In serama the body must be held upright, with a full breast and short back so as the neck touches the tail without leaving a gap. A well developed and muscular body is highly desirable, with a double breast seeming to be very popular at competition. The highest score for a perfect body is 15%.
Bulu - This means the feather condition. Serama must be beautiful, and so the condition of the feathers plays a big role in it's appearance of divine beauty. All feathers should be intact and in good condition with no signs of damage, fading, or scrubbing. In Malaysia birds are dipped in water daily to prevent the feathers from becoming dry and brittle, thus maintaining a beautiful lustre and sheen to the feathers and preventing splitting and curling. A smooth, tidy and unruffled look is desired at a beauty contest. The maximum pointsscore for perfect feathers is 5%.
Kepala - This means the head and it's attributes including comb, wattles and beak. The head of the serama must be held at over 90 degrees, right back as far as possible with some birds head position being lower than the top of the breast. Such birds attain Champion placings and are sold for very high prices, with some birds achieving what some people earn in 2 years! The head of the serama is small, broad with a strong curved beak which should be yellow. The earlobes should be only red.The comb should be relatively small and smooth with 4-6 serrations which should be neat and fine. The maximum pointsscore for a perfect head is 8%.
Gaya - This means overal style or type of the bird. The serama is defined by it's Gaya. It is proud, confident and striding in motion. A serama in a beauty contest must flap its wings, lift it's legs high like a soldier on parade, and have what is known as a tremulous neck where the neck shivers when the bird becomes excited. An overall exaggerated and flamboyant display of motion. The serama should appear fearless and dominte the table with it's posturing, flapping and circling motions. A bird which lacks confidence, style, presence or remains still for too long is penalised and awared a low score. The maximum score for a perfect style is 25%.