Breeds in focus
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.