Breed History; . . .
Originally refered to in the early books such as Lewis Wright and
others as the Decoy changing about the 1850's to the name Call. They
are described in the 1848 Teatise on the History and
Management of Ornamental Poultry as being white and imported from
Holland as a novelty for the great estates . Colours known then were
the dark (Mallard) and the White.His comments upon them was that
"The flesh is good:but there is too little to repay breeding them
for the table, and their only proper place is on the lake.
A short compact and cobby bird with a round face and short bill...as
a rule it should be shorter than the last digit of an adult
thumb...maximum length 1 1/4 inches / 3.1 cm. Due to the large
number of colours for further information about colours see the page
for the Call duck club at http://www.thebritishcallduckclub.co.uk
Colours and Calls
These are the six factors that cover the colours of Calls:-
Wild Pattern/Dusky Mallard./Restricted Mallard. The Mallard
Factor allows full expression of the "Wild Type" pattern.It is
dominant to the dusky factor and recessive to the restricted factor.
Each factor produces its own pattern in ducklings and in adult
Mallard: Ducklings: Olive-black with four yellow spots on the
back,the head is yellow with two ocular(eye) stripes from the base
of the bill to the dorsal area.
Adults: The male bears fullexpression of the wild type.The female is
rich buff brown with a dark line running from the base of the
billthrough the eye and a dark patch on the crown that runs down the
neck.Each feather is distinctly pencilled with black or very dark
Dusky Mallard: Ducklings:The back is olive-black shading off
to olive - grey on the under side, with an absence of ocular
stripesand dorsal spots.
Adults:Male - There is usually an absence of the neck ring and
the claret breast is either missing or very small,
Female- She is very dark and lacks eye stripes and cap.
Ducklings;- Dark Pigment on the back is confined to patches on the
head and tail.The remainder is dull yellow with dark under colour.
Adults:In both sexes the difference is on the wing front and bow.
The restricted bird always shows areas of white on the dorsal
surface.This is due to the white lacing or tipping rather than
completely white feathers.The feathers may have a silvery cast o
them.The females wing bow appears paler than in the wild type
Mallard or Dusky.
Dark Phase Light Phase Harlequin Phase
Each of these genes affect the mallard colour.The dominant factor is
dark phase; it allows full expression of any one of the three
mallard factors which happen to be present.
Light Phase: It lightens the colour of the adult plumage in the
femaleand intensifies the colour of the male.
Ducklings: At 19 to 20 days will have a white spot under the
chin.The light phase ducklings never have more than one unbroken
stripe running through the eye. Dark phase usually have two.When
theses two phases are with dusky mallard it is impossible to tell at
Adults: The light phase is brought about by the reduction of the
size of the dark portion of each feather . It increases the area of
claret on the breast and extends it along the sides over the
shoulders.A minor modification in the males causes the black on the
back to reduce to dark grey.
Light Phase/Dusky Mallard: will produce some claret in the breast
region of the males.A lighter tone occurs in the light phase dusky
Harlequin Phase; Ducklings; Hunter in 1939 described a variation
from the wild pattern. The mutation appeared in a flock of wild
mallards that had been domesticated and inbred for about twenty four
years. Theducklings were yellow with smoky coloured down on their
heads and tails.
Adults; The ducks were almost entirely white on the breast. They had
greyish heads and light coloured wings and tails. The black markings
of the male and the wing specular of both sexes were quite normal.
3.Mallard Dilution to Blue
Blue Fawn;Male; Dark seal blue head ,neck and speculum, with
claretbreast. Female : Grey blue and rich fawn, blue speculum, fawn
Pastel; Dilution of the Blue Fawn; Male; Silver blue head, neck
andspecular, claret breast with a shaded silver blue body
Female; Shading from golden fawn to silver blue.Rich Fawn eye
streakand cap Golden fawn chest and blue speculum.
Aztec Blue; Wild pattern on lavender or silver;Male; Dark silver
headand neck and speculum.Claret Breast shaded silver body . Female;
Soft silver blue (No Fawn) darker speculum, shaded silver body.
4.Wild Mallard ...Dilution to Browns
Nutmeg; This is the Brighter form of the Khaki in the Wild
pattern.Male; Dark Brown Head, neck and Iridescent brown
specular.Claret breast, soft brown vermiculation on the
flank.Female; The colour is similar to the khaki but will be
lighter, brighter with each feather distinctly pencilled with a
Ginger ; When you dilute nutmeg it becomes the buff colour in the
wildpattern.Male; Soft brown head with matching speculum, white wing
bras,rich claret breast on soft buff body. Female ; Golden buff,
slight eye stripe, very light wing bows and primaries,
speculum white bars with soft tan.
5.Mallard Dusty Factor; Self Colours; Even Tones
Black ; flat even tone of black Blue ; dark without rust tones
Silver ; Soft blue silver
Chocolate ; Rich even tones of chocolate
Khaki ; Soft subtle pencilling without much speculum
Buff ;Tan head no speculum
Cocoa or Dunn ; Light form of chocolate may come from blue cross
Bibbed ; This is controlled by a completely dominant gene. It could
appear on any of the self colours.
Runner Pattern ; The cap is separated from the cheek markings by an
extension of the neck white which covers the entire neck . The
breast white starts in front of the thigh and passes between the
legs to beyond the vent. A third area of white is present on the
wings covering the primaries, secondaries and lower part of the wing
bow. This pattern can be bred on self colours and wild mallard
For example;- Fawn & White ............. self colour
Pencilled ........... Dusky Mallard
Pied Drake/Duck Call & other Bantam ducks
Blue Silver Pied drake....Dark silver Pied duck Call
Hooded or Magpie Pattern ; This is most likely a modified Runner
Pattern and could be bred on any solid or wild colour
6. Light Phase on Restricted Mallard or Wild Mallard
(eg Trout Runner Colouration)
Aleutian ; Grey Patterns with a reduction of the size of the dark
portion of each feather.
Cinnamon ; Grey Pattern with a reduction of the size of the dark
portion of each feather **This group could come in any of the
Harlequin Phase ; Spot ; These look like the mallards Hunter
described in the mutation from wild mallards (Hunter 1939). The
female is almost entirely white, greyish head, light coloured wing
and tail, normal speculum. Males are the lightest in the harlequin
group with normal markings.
Snowy ; Red - buff head, some red on the chest and shoulders, black
and red spotting on the back with a violet speculum.Males darker and
more red than the spot male.
Blue Snowy ; Blue replaces the black in the male and female.
Chocolate Snowy; Chocolate replaces red on the male and female.
Minor modifications in the harlequin restricts the colour under the
chin around the neck down the breast and ventral areas of the
female.The male will have white eye streaks in the eclipse plumage.
Appleyard ; The wild mallard pattern
Butterscotch ; Female ; Rich golden red with eye streaks over
white.Male ; Rich blue with claret extending over the shoulders,
downthe flank and low on the breast region.
Yellow Bellies ; This is the same pattern as the butterscotch
female,wild colour on the back and head,The eye streaks and the
entire underside is yellow. Male ; wild pattern with yellow belly .
On Crested Calls . . . Lethal Crested Gene
This gene is a dominant gene with a lethal variant. If C=crested and
p=plain non-crested, it works like this:
Crested Drake =C p (this means that a crested drake in a pen can
turn any breed crested)
Crested Duck = C CC Cp
their offspring will be:- pp is a non-crested duckling,....Cp is a
crested duckling,..CC (theoretically crested) dies in the shell due
to skull deformities.
As you can see, breeding Crested ducks is challenging and not
recommended for beginners; also if the crest is so large as to
intefere with normal eating and mating etc it would need to be
'trimmed' to allow the duck a normal life as some will intefere with
Names Also known as Le canard Mignon in France and Belgium.
Mignon in Italy
Country Of Origin;........ Great Britain. known since early
Victorian times mentioned in Tegetemeir
Carriage; short compact and cobby bird
Purpose;..........Eggs..Meat(soup or spatchock! ie tiddly
)...Broody...a good utility duck
Egg Numbers .............They lay one clutch per year
normally.......thus will not sit and brood if the eggs are removed
10+ per yearr
Breed Defects. . . . . .bill length then according to colour
Breed Hints.... Kept as trio or pair .. will go broody and
Breed Tip ***Kept as pairs or alternatively trios .Need
water swims for pleasure** check good fox proofing as the female can
be heard for quite a distance
Flying . Excellent fliers can thus be pinioned which some
people like it involves removing the end of the wing surgically
!...the ducklings have to be done as babies NEVER as adults
..consult the vet for further information about this. If not clip
the wings or net new birds to curtail their homing instincts
until settled in if not be prepared with a landing net and set