Breeds in fo­cus

Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - SPORTING ANSWERS -

Orig­i­nally known as the de­coy duck, the call duck is thought to have orig­i­nated in Asia, then im­ported into Hol­land, but the breed was stan­dard­ised in the UK in 1865. The call duck’s ances­tor is the mal­lard: one of the recog­nised colour vari­ants is known as the mal­lard due to its sim­i­lar­ity to the wild bird. Other recog­nised colours in­clude apri­cot, bibbed, blue fawn, dark sil­ver, sil­ver, pied and white.

What all call ducks have in com­mon is their com­pact size — they are con­sid­er­ably smaller than a mal­lard — with dis­tinc­tive round heads and short bills. Bred orig­i­nally to lure wild ducks into tra­di­tional duck de­coys or in range of the gun, they are lively and noisy, the duck’s high-pitched “quack” far car­ry­ing. To­day they are kept largely as pets and are pop­u­lar as show birds, as they are read­ily tamed, soon be­com­ing friendly and con­fid­ing.

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