Ducks That Look Like 18th-Century Wig-Wearing Aristocrats

When you think about animals with luscious locks, you probably think about lions, or horses, or maybe even golden retrievers. In any case, “ducks” are probably not the first thing that pops into your head.

But perhaps it should be!

We’ve just found out that there’s a breed of duck which grows tufts of feathers on the top of their heads, which makes it look like they are sporting white and gloriously poofy hair, worthy of a British judge, Einstein, or an old grandpa.

These fascinating ducks are called “Crested ducks” and they are just as adorable and funny as they sound. Let’s know more about them!

What Is A Crested Duck?

The cresting on these ducks is also sometimes found in mallards, which nearly all duck breeds originated from, as a mutation. Through selective breeding for the trait, the crested duck breed was ultimately developed and standards set. The crest is a heterozygous for a mutation that is genetic and causes a sᴋᴜʟʟ deformity.

The dominant gene mutation causes a gap to grow in the duck embryo’s sᴋᴜʟʟ. In this gap a mass of fatty tissue emerges. On the fatty tissue feathers start to grow, creating either large and full or rather skinny crests that are less broad.

Muscovy ducks, also the originator of the bulk of modern domesticated duck breeds, cannot have cresting bred into them – they are the only known breed that cannot be crossed with a crested duck to create this unusual genetic deformity.

Most Common Color

Although crested ducks can be found in a variety of colors, only the black and white versions of this duck breed meet the established standards in either America or England. The most common colors of crested ducks include: white, black, gray mallard coloring, as well as buff and blue.

A bantam (small – miniature) version of crested ducks was created by Roy Sutcliffe and John Hall in England that was recognized by breed associations in 1997.

History of the Crested Ducks

Members of this breed are often believed to have found their way to Europe where they have been predominantly kept, but Dutch ships that have traveled the East Inᴅɪᴇs. This breed was possibly developed from a cross between crested runner ducks – or Bali ducks were bred with local ducks from the East Inᴅɪᴇs to develop what is now known as the crested duck breed.

Through distinctive selective breeding efforts this breed flourished during the 17th century. Dutch ᴘᴀɪɴters frequently depicted members of this breed of classic

In 1874 the crested duck was granted entrance into the American Standard of Perfection. It was not until 1910 that this breed was accepted into the British Standard of Perfection books.

In spite of their lack of popularity as meat ducks, egg layers, or exhibition ducks in our modern world, crested ducks are still fairly common to find. The number of folks who keep crested ducks as pets keeps breeding working diligently to hatch ducklings and present them for sale. While it would be unusual to find crested ducks for sale at your local Tractor Supply or Rural King store during spring and fall chick and duckling sales, members of this breed are still readily available at commercial hatcheries.

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