Origin, diffusion and economic characteristics
Dwarf Duck is known in France as "Canard Mignon" and in England as "Call Duck", commonly but incorrectly it is also called in Italy "mignon" or "short-beak mignon".
The Dwarf Duck, together with the Curved Beak Duck, and the Tufted Duck is perhaps the most famous Dutch duck, currently it is very widespread, selected and studied in England and in particular in the United States. But the origin of the selection that we know, although somewhat nebulous, is unquestionably to be reported in the Netherlands. The "Dutch Call Duck" or "Dutch Dwark Duck" arrived in the UK before 1851 and in the USA around 1884. Most likely, however, the true origin of our Dwarf Ducks is as for the Indian corrector and Beijing, the Far East . We cannot exclude this, in that area, in fact, thousands of farmers have worked for millennia laying the foundations of our modern poultry farming. The English and Dutch colonial powers were then the means that allowed these genetic lines to be imported into our continent, which will be perfected by European breeders in two centuries.
In 1678 Francis Willughby, an English ornithologist and naturalist, wrote in his "Ornithologie" that ducks, called "Coy-ducks", were used, as a reference by Dutch hunters to hunt wild water. In practice these "Coy-ducks" were inserted in funnel cages, with the intent to recall with wild and deafening song the males of wild duck, who once entered the traps, were captured and killed by hunters. Hence the Dutch term "De Kooy" which means "cage", with which these ducks were called.
From the term "De Kooy" derives the English term "Decoy" which means "recall". Dwarf ducks became very popular in the Netherlands in the early nineteenth century. This short and intense diffusion in Europe can be the demonstration that the origin is external to our continent and proof of the fact that they came from the Far East already with these characteristics. It cannot be excluded that the original origin of this duck is Japan and that Japanese breeders have also used crossbreeding with the Laysan Mallard (Anas laysanensis) in their creation. The minute size of the Laysan Mallard and the acute, strident and prolonged verse of the female undoubtedly recall the verse of the females of the Dwarf Duck. A relationship perhaps not too old between the two races is therefore possible.
In England people started talking about Dwarf Ducks or "Call Duck" in the mid-nineteenth century, also bred here and used as a decoy. At the time the colors were few, probably only white and wild.
From the early twentieth century and for seventy years, Dwarf Ducks disappeared from ornithological literature and Anglo-Saxon farms, with the almost unique exception of Reginald Appleyard, one of the main British breeders of the last century. However, they remained fairly common in Holland. Probably the end of the use as decoy ducks brought them to the brink of extinction.
Significant imports of Dwarf Ducks from Holland to England began in 1964. It was a different type of Dwarf Duck, very small, small with a very short beak. Between the early seventies and the end of the last century there was a flourishing of breedings and colors, a revival of the Dwarf Ducks, many breeders in the UK in the USA and in Europe worked closely together restoring fertility and definitively fixing this breed. Many colors were introduced and standardized: white, black, wild, blue yellow, piebald, blue, lavender, "blue fawn", "apricot", wild silver, blue and black with bib ...
Imports from Holland and the selection made between the 1980s and 1990s revolutionized the shape of the Dwarf Duck, reducing the body, rounding the head and shortening the beak.
It is a fairly prolific duck, which produces around fifty eggs per year and normally has no fertility problems. It reproduces very well, both by letting the females hatch, and by using nurses or incubators. The lively and acute "chatter" of the female is one of the most famous aspects of this wonderful duck.
The Dwarf Duck is a nice and sweet duck, the round face, the big eyes, the nice chatter of the female have always given strong feelings in us breeders, such because they remind us of childish faces and gestures. The distinctive elements are the small size, less than half of an emerald duck, the roundness of the head, the short beak, maximum 3 cm and the acute, strong and prolonged direction of the female. The body is compact and rounded, the legs short and centered in the body.
Weight is a problem that should not be underestimated, the Italian standard provides for a maximum weight of 0.9 kg for males and 0.8 kg for females.
- Male: maximum 0.9 kg
- Female: maximum 0.8 kg
curated by Giacomo Cellini
Male White Dwarf Duck (website photo)
Male Blue Dwarf Duck (website photo)
Breed standard - FIAV
I - General
Unknown, used however, especially in the Netherlands, as a decoy duck. Fixed as a breed in England.
Minimum weight g. 30
Shell color: white to greenish.
Male and female: 9
II - Type and Address for Selection
Dwarf duck with compact body; round and plump head; short beak; low habit; very lively character.
III - Standard
General Appearance and Characteristics of the Breed
1 - Form
Trunk: proportionally short; well rounded; not too small; trunk hold almost horizontal.
Head: large in relation to the body; well rounded; fairly high and accentuated forehead; well developed cheeks; without forelock or with a not too big forelock.
Beak: short, wide and not curved; clearly concave upper part; color according to the variety.
Eyes: dark iris; lively; positioned almost in the center of the head.
Neck: short, slightly arched; full throat.
Back: short; wide; slightly rounded.
Wings: quite long; the primary remiges cross slightly at the end of the back.
Tail: as short as possible; closed and horizontal flow.
Chest: full and well rounded.
Legs: not in sight. Short tarsi; positioned in the center of the trunk; color according to the variety.
Belly: well shaped; without trace of baleen.
Body too large, massive or too small or pointed; inclined habit; neck too long; habit too high; narrow, long or flat head; flat forehead; long, cone-shaped or curved beak. In tufted subjects a split or falling tuft.
2 - Weight
Male: kg. 0.9
Female: kg. 0.8
3 - Plumage
Conformation: well adherent.
IV - Colors
Note: tuft color often lighter than the color of the head in all varieties.
Bright blue-green head and neck, clearly delimited in the lower third by a narrow and precise white ring that starts at the front and surrounds approximately three quarters of the neck, leaving an opening in the back. The chest is chocolate brown or brown-red, which overflows as little as possible in the uniform silver-gray pearl color of the hips and belly. Dark back, which gradually changes to green-black. End of the back, lower part of the tail and green-black curls. Gray tail feathers, very lightened on the sides. Coverings of silver gray wings that fades to brownish. Edge and end of dark wings. Wing mirror in blue-green color, with clear delimitation, front and rear, black and then narrow and white.
Olive green beak with black claw. Slight dark traces allowed in the area of the nostrils. Orange tarsiers.
Medium intensity brown head with dark design, neck a little lighter. The background color of the back, chest, hips and belly region is desired golden brown sustained, often a little lighter, with a precise horseshoe pattern, black brown, which starts on the chest to arrive at the apex of cleanliness on the back and sides, then decreasing towards the rear. A brown horseshoe-shaped band forms the outer edge of the feathers. Wing mirror as in the male, delimited on both sides of the black and white bands.
Serious Defects: in the two sexes very incomplete delimitation of the wing mirror.
Male: lead or yellow colored beak; a lot of soot or rust on the wing covers, on the belly or on the sides; very white around the anus; white spots in the throat.
Female: background color too light; washed-out design on the coverts and on the belly; undrawed undertail; clear throat; green colored beak. A background color lightened in the lower parts must not be provisionally considered as a serious defect.
Like the wild variety, but blue replaces black brown and black. Blue wing mirror supported without metallic reflections. Head of blue-black male.
Serious defects: in the two sexes light nail; serious defects in color and design.
The background color is cream silver white. Chest, lower neck and shoulders brown red with silver white edging. Belly cream white silver. Desired sides white cream with few traces of brown-red, each feather edged with white.
Lower back, lower tail and black curls. Gray-yellow tail with clear edge. White wings slightly mixed with gray; primary remiges and wing covers of silver gray. Bright green wing mirror with a clearly defined delimitation, a clear delimitation of the mirror means that the rear delimitation begins with a black band followed by a narrow white band. Front delimitation of the wing mirror with black feathers, each edged in clear. Black-green head with green reflections. Ring not too tight and closed at the back.
Willow green to gray-green beak. Slight dark traces allowed in the region of the nostrils. Orange tarsiers.
The background color is yellowish white and must be predominant. Upper chest and lower neck, back and hips slightly streaked with brown. Primary remiges and wing coverts silver white, a light beige shade is tolerated on the wing coverts. Lower part of the pearl gray back with a dark splash and white edging. Lower part of the chest and belly white cream. Blue wing mirror clearly delimited, as in the male. Light brown tail feathers. Head and upper part of the neck, up to about its half, brown-yellow supported and uniform; the subjects of several years are a little clearer. Forehead and throat have black streaks.
Dark gray-green beak. Dirty brown tarsi.
Male: brown head; collar too wide, barely visible or open; insufficient delimitation of the wing mirror; absence of hemming.
Female: complete absence of streaks; white head and neck; wing mirror brown or poorly delimited.
In both sexes: yellow beak; background color too dark; wing coverts with black dominance or metallic reflections.
Coarse size that is expressed, potentially on all parts of the body, against a wild background. On display, relatively uniform piebald subjects should be presented.
Beak yellow spotted green or green spotted yellow in the male. In the female yellow spotted with green up to yellow spotted with brown. Orange tarsi in both sexes.
Serious defects: areas of very irregular and asymmetrical color; feathers of other color besides wild and white.
White plumage as pure as possible. Slight sulfur reflections allowed in the autumn.
Pale yellow to orange beak without spots; light nail. Dark yellow to orange tarsi.
Serious defects: stained beak; feathers of other color; strong yellow highlights.
Black plumage with green reflections both in the coat and in the wing mirror. The beak of the male is dark olive green, with very dark spots on the saddle that extend over the whole upper part; in the female the beak is black, fades from dark green to gray towards the end; both sexes have a black nail. The tarsi are, in the two sexes, as dark as possible, almost black; in adults admitted orange spots.
Defects Serious: blue, purple or white traces in the plumage; too opaque brownish color; light colored beak; lightened tarsi.
Plumage as a whole intense blue uniform including the wing mirror. Feathers of the head and neck of a darker shade. A few isolated black feathers and a light edging on the plumage of the coat are allowed.
Beak gray-blue to gray-green, even gray-black. Black nail.
Uniform blue coat, including the wing mirror. A few isolated black feathers and a light edging on the plumage of the coat are allowed.
Beak gray-green to gray-black. Black nail.
Tarsi in the two black sexes up to red-black. Slightly lightened interdigital membrane allowed.
Serious Defects: traces of other color besides blue; white remiges; clear tarsi.
Yellow plumage uniform leather (brown-yellow). Head and upper part of the neck chocolate brown. Lower part of the back brown-red, without traces of blue. Remiganti and wing pommel slightly lightened. Blue traces allowed in the final part of the back and on the curls.
Orange beak, light green reflections allowed; dark nail.
Yellow plumage uniform leather (brown-yellow).
Yellow beak, light brown shade allowed; dark nail.
Tarsi in both sexes orange red; slight differences are still admitted provisionally.
Male: traces of other color in the plumage; coat color marbled in young subjects; head and coverts of blue wings.
Female: too dark coat; presence of drawing; coverts of the wings and bluish eyebrow.
In both sexes: strong differences in color in the beak.
Brown plumage as uniform as possible. The male is a little darker in the head, neck, in the wing mirror and in the terminal part of the back.
Dark gray-brown beak. Brown tarsi.
Serious faults: presence of feathers of another color; clear tarsi.
Head and neck pigeon blue up to the collar. Lanello is white, in the back it can be both open and closed. Lower neck, chest and shoulders rust red. Each feather edged slightly white. Lower back, terminal part, curls and pigeon blue undertail area. Flour-colored tail and remiges. Pale gray-blue belly up to under the tail. Pale gray-blue wings; pigeon blue wing mirror.
Yellow beak with light green shades; desired nail, but dark nail is still provisionally tolerated.
Dark yellow tarsi.
Intense pea yellow neck and chest head. Eyebrow to look for like in the Duck of Saxony, but its absence or lack of cleanliness should not be considered as a temporary defect. Light pea yellow back, the same color as the eye line, all like the throat. Terminal part of the back and pea yellow tail with light blue reflections. Coverings of cream wings with light blue reflections. Pigeon blue wing mirror.
Yellow beak with pale green shades and light nail, dark yellow tarsi.
Male: absence of the ring and under the brown head.
Female: excess of white in the chest.
In both sexes: rust wing mirror; black nail.
Head and neck light blue up to the white collar that is not interrupted. Lower neck, chest, wing pommel and shoulders dark red wine with well-marked white edging. Primary remiges, back and tail with light blue hue. Lower back, terminal part, curls and blue-gray undertail. Light blue wing mirror. Dark red wine sides with white edging.
The color of the head and neck is creamy white. There is a bronze colored band that starts from the forehead, crosses the skull and neck and ends at the shoulders. Bronze colored eye strips. Chest, belly and hips creamy white, brown spots adorn the sides of the front of the neck and a light bronze design is visible on the sides. Primaries in cream color. Cream-colored wing covers with bronze spots. White tail with blue shades.
Yellowish green beak with black claw in the male; in the orange female with brown upper part and dark nail.
Male: absence of cream hemming on the chest; entirely yellow beak.
Female: absence of eye features; absent or interrupted design on the back of the neck; yellow beak.
BLACK WITH STICK
We are looking for a black coat intended for green reflections. Gray-black down jacket. On the front of the neck and on the goiter there is a white bib of harmonious size, regularly delimited. A white spot in the throat constitutes neither an advantage nor a defect.
Beak of male of dark willow green color with a dark spot more or less large saddle saddle. In the female the beak is green-black. Black nail in both sexes,
Very dark tarsi up to completely black. Neo fingers and interdigital membrane with lighter spots.
Serious defects: lead beak; brown in plumage; white feathers in the remiges; white traces in black plumage or black in white plumage; bib that surrounds the neck or reassembled up to the throat.
BLUE WITH STICK
Coat of uniform blue color, some black traces or a slight hemming are tolerated. A white spot in the throat constitutes neither an advantage nor a defect.
Tarsi black up to red-black. Lighter fingers and interdigital membrane are allowed in both sexes.
Serious Defects: white traces in the blue plumage or blue feathers in the white plumage; bib that extends from the throat to the belly or that surrounds the neck; white remiges, clear tarsi.
BROWN WITH STICK
Brown plumage as uniform as possible. The male is a little darker in the head, neck, in the wing mirror and in the terminal part of the back. White spot on the throat allowed.
Tarsi and beak of the same color as the brown variety.
Serious Defects: white traces in the brown plumage or brown feathers in the white plumage; bib that extends from the throat to the belly or that surrounds the neck; white remiges, yellow tarsi.