The Duck Breed Guide

 |  6 min read

The variety of duck breeds is astounding. Ducks come in every color, shape, pattern, and size you can imagine. When you first dive into the world of ducks, it can be difficult to decide which of these amazing breeds would be best for you.

Determine what you want out of your ducks:

  • Purpose—do you want eggs, meat, or pets? Do you want to preserve a rare breed, or bring your ducks to exhibitions? Do you just want a lawn ornament? Or do you want a breed that lays plenty of eggs, is big enough to provide meat, and makes a good pet?
  • Egg production—do you want 300 eggs a year, or are you okay with only 100?
  • Size—bantam, light, medium, or heavy? A two pound duck or a ten pound one?
  • Availability—which breeds are available in your area? If you’re in the US, for example, it may be impossible to find Abacot Rangers or Shetlands.
  • Popularity—do you want to preserve a rare breed, or do you want something that’s cheap and easy to find?
  • Flying—does it matter whether the breed can fly or not?
  • Foraging—do you need a breed that can find a good chunk of its own food?
  • Mothering—do you need a breed that will go broody, or one that won’t?
  • Personality—do you want a quiet, friendly, calm breed? Unfortunately, it’s difficult to go by blanket breed statements, because individuals vary so much.
  • And looks—do you like the looks of the breed?

Duck Breed Comparison Chart

Swipe to the side to see two more categories, “Flying” and “Mothering.” If you’re on a desktop computer, there is a scroll bar at the bottom of the chart to allow you to scroll horizontally to view the other categories.

BreedSizeUtilityEggsWeight (lb)PopularityFlyingMothering
Abacot RangerLightEggs180-2005.5-6.6RarePoorGood
AlabioLightDual Purpose200-2503.3-4.4Popular (Indonesia), Rare (Elsewhere)GoodGood
AnconaMediumDual Purpose210-2805-7WatchPoorGood
Australian SpottedBantamExhibition/Pet50-1252-2.2Critically EndangeredGoodGood
Blue SwedishMediumMeat100-1507-9WatchPoorGood
Buff OrpingtonMediumDual Purpose150-2205-8ThreatenedPoorFair
CayugaMediumDual Purpose100-1507-8ThreatenedPoorGood
CrestedMediumDual Purpose100-1506-7CommonPoorGood
Dutch HookbillLightEggs/Exhibition100-2003.5-5CriticalGoodGood
East IndiesBantamExhibition/Ornamental25-751-2RareGoodGood
ElizabethLightDual Purpose100-1502.75-4EndangeredGoodGood
Indian RunnerLightEggs150-3003-4CommonPoorFair
Khaki CampbellLightEggs250-3404.5-5.5CommonPoorFair
PekinHeavyDual Purpose125-2258-13.5CommonPoorPoor
Rouen ClairHeavyDual Purpose150-2006-9RarePoorFair
SaxonyHeavyDual Purpose190-2407-9ThreatenedPoorGood
ShetlandLightEggs1504-4.4Critically EndangeredPoorFair
Silver AppleyardHeavyDual Purpose200-2707-9ThreatenedPoorGood
Silver Appleyard MiniatureBantamExhibition/Ornamental60-1602.5-3?GoodGood
Silver BantamBantamExhibition/Ornamental60-1601.7-2RareGoodGood
Welsh HarlequinLightEggs100-3304.5-5.5RarePoorGood

Here’s a list of duck breeds with a link to a complete guide to each duck breed (although this list is still in progress and some breeds are missing). Click on a breed name to see pictures of the duck breed and read about its history, use, egg production, meat production, appearance, and more.

abacot ranger female graphic
Abacot Ranger

Abacot Rangers are extremely rare, beautiful, dual-purpose light ducks. They’re not only extremely talented egg-layers, they’re also good for meat, good…

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alabio duck graphic

The Alabio duck is one of the rarest duck breeds in the world. It is not globally recognized as a duck breed and is almost unheard of…

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ancona duck graphic

The Ancona duck is a large dual-purpose duck breed that’s beautiful, friendly, excellent at foraging, and has recently been experiencing a surge…

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australian spotted duck graphic
Australian Spotted

Australian Spotted ducks are critically endangered and underappreciated, despite their beauty, friendliness, and adorable Call-like conformation…

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aylesbury duck graphic

The Aylesbury is a large meat breed of duck developed in the town of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, England in the 18th century. Their status is…

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bali duck graphic

The Bali duck is an endangered, lightweight breed of duck that is something like a cross between a Runner and a Crested duck…

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blue swedish duck graphic
Blue Swedish

The Blue Swedish (or Swedish Blue) is an attractive dual-purpose duck breed that makes a perfect addition to any homestead, hobby farm, or backyard…

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buff orpington duck breed graphic
Buff Orpington

The Buff Orpington duck is the epitome of a dual-purpose duck. For someone looking for one single “do-it-all” breed, these would be one of my first…

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call duck breed graphic

Sometimes Call ducks look more like stuffed toys than real birds. With their chubby cheeks, adorable short bills, dark button eyes, and plump round bodies, Call ducks can solidly stake their claim as the world’s cutest duck breed…

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cayuga duck breed graphic

The Cayuga is almost unmistakable, with their solid black bills and feet, and solid black feathers that are a beautiful luminescent green in…

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duclair duck breed graphic

The Duclair duck is an old French breed of duck that used to be an extremely popular meat bird, but is now difficult to find. Most Duclairs…

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dutch hookbill duck breed graphic
Dutch Hookbill

The most striking feature of the extremely rare Dutch Hookbill duck is, of course, its curved “Roman-nosed” bill. No other duck breed has…

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east indies duck graphic
East Indies

East Indies are relatively rare ducks and are primarily used as ornamental birds, exhibition birds, or pets. They are shyer and quieter than other…

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magpie duck graphic

First documented in the early 1920s, the Magpie is a relatively modern breed with a lot to offer. They make fabulous dual-purpose homestead ducks, with…

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muscovy duck graphic

The Muscovy is a very unique breed of duck. In fact, it’s not even a true duck – it’s simply called a duck. The Muscovy is to the duck world what the donkey…

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pekin duck breed graphic

The Pekin duck. Oh, we’ve all seen the Pekin duck. Many “city people” and other laypeople have hardly seen any duck but the Pekin (and Mallard). They are the duck. The duck of all ducks…

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rouen clair duck breed graphic
Rouen Clair

This is not the Rouen. The Rouen Clair is a totally different breed that has slipped out of the spotlight. It doesn’t lay enough to be mentioned in any “best egg layers lists,”…

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saxony duck breed graphic

The Saxony duck is a heavy dual-purpose duck breed that is considered one of the most beautiful breeds. Its status is threatened. They are…

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shetland duck breed graphic

Shetland ducks are a small, critically endangered breed of duck, one of the rarest breeds in the world. They are so rare that there is currently no…

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silver appleyard miniature duck breed
Silver Appleyard Miniature

As the name implies, the Silver Appleyard Miniature is a miniaturized bantam version of the Silver Appleyard duck. This rare duck breed was created in the 1980s…

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silver bantam duck breed
Silver Bantam

The Silver Bantam is a rare ornamental/exhibition bantam breed of duck. They are mostly kept as a pet, or for exhibition. Females have a…

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welsh harlequin duck breed graphic
Welsh Harlequin

Created in 1949, the Welsh Harlequin is one of the newest duck breeds. Welsh Harlequin ducks are a beautiful, practical, lightweight breed…

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