Rare Duck Breeds

A duck breed is deemed rare if organizations like the Livestock Conservancy or the Rare Breeds Survival Trust conduct surveys revealing a significant decline in its breeding population. If a duck has a global population of fewer than 1000 birds, its status is considered critical. If there are around 5000, it is threatened and is considered under watch if its population worldwide is around 10,000.

Why Do Some Duck Breeds Become Rare

  • Competition with Chickens Ducks face significant competition from chickens, which generally have higher egg and meat production rates. For example, the Hookbill was once popular as a dual-purpose duck for eggs and meat. In the present day though, it struggles to compete with the higher productivity of chickens.
  • Limited Range — Certain duck breeds are often localized to specific regions. For instance, the Shetland Duck is an exclusive resident of the Shetland archipelago in Scotland.
  • Competition with Other Ducks When a duck breed is less capable of producing meat or eggs, it will lose favor with breeders and be reared less often. For instance, the Aylesbury lost popularity once the Pekin became one of the most well-known meat ducks worldwide.
Rare Duck Breeds

List of Rare Duck Breeds

MagpieCritical, around 60-100 birds left worldwideEggs and meat
HookbillCritical, with around 1000 individuals left worldwideEggs and meat
ShetlandCritical, on the brink of extinctionEggs
Australian SpottedCriticalExhibition
Abacot RangerCritical; went extinct in its native UKShow
Stanbridge WhiteCritical; was believed to be extinct at one pointEggs and meat
Black East IndianThreatenedOrnamental
BaliThreatenedEggs, also show
Silver AppleyardThreatenedEggs and meat
SaxonyThreatenedEggs and meat
OrpingtonThreatenedEggs and meat, also show
CayugaUnder watchMeat
Silver BantamUnder watchOrnamental
Welsh HarlequinUnder watchEggs and exhibition
Miniature Silver Appleyard Under watchShow
RouenUnder watchMeat, also show
Indian RunnerRecoveringOrnamental

Despite all the challenges involved, the efforts of the aforementioned organizations and individual breeders have successfully preserved multiple rare ducks. One such success was the Indian Runner, which had been crossbred extensively with other ducks throughout Europe, leading to a decline in the breed’s numbers. Eventually, thanks to several conservation efforts, the population stabilized and is now classified as “recovering.”

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