The Domestic Waterfowl Club.

Call Ducks

The call Duck

Call Ducks
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 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

Colours and Calls
These are the six factors that cover the colours of Calls:-
1.Mallard Factor
 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 birds.
 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 brown.
 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.
2.Restricted Mallard;
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 day old.
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 female.
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 laced feathers.
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 brilliant specular.
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 colours.
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 colours**
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 the eyes. 

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 Colour.....................white
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 hatch
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 of expletives

2015 DWC Show  pics by Rupert Stephenson

How to hold a call 2015 Hants & berks Show

The one breed that nibbles anything !

Pics by Rupert

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