Australian Spotted Duck

Australian Spotted Duck

Australian Spotted ducks are critically endangered and underappreciated, despite their beauty, friendliness, and adorable Call-like conformation. Less than 1000 birds exist, and there are only around 500 breeding birds.

Australian Spotted ducks are very friendly, one of the hardiest of duck breeds, adventurous, long-lived, and good foragers. They can also fly well. They are bantams, after all. All bantams can fly.

silverhead australian spotted duck
A Silverhead Australian Spotted drake. Photo used with permission from Beau McLean of Duck Creek Farm.

They lay 50-125 medium-sized cream, blue, or green eggs a year. They are good broody ducks and mothers.

They may be bantams, but they’re actually not bad meat birds because they mature extremely quickly, becoming sexually mature around three to four weeks of age.

They’re small, weighing 2-2.2 lb (0.9-1 kg), although they’re slightly larger than many other bantam ducks.

Their conformation is much like Calls, with round heads and puffy cheeks.

There are three color varieties: the Bluehead, Greenhead, and Silverhead Australian Spotted, which refer to the color of the drake’s head. The original was the “Greenhead,” and the other two were later developed at Holderread’s Preservation Farm. (The featured image, at the top, is a female Greenhead.)

They are often used for exhibition or as pets.

australian spotted duck breed infographic


In the 1920s, John C. Kriner and Stanley Mason of Pennsylvania (not Down Under; in fact, the Australian Spotted is one of the very few duck breeds developed in the United States) developed the Australian Spotted from Calls, Mallards, Northern Pintails, and an unknown breed of native Australian duck by letting their foundation stock breed freely for several generations before selecting ducks to breed. By 1928, the breed was appearing in exhibitions.

Many people think pintails are not part of this breed’s origin, because crossing pintails with mallard-derived duck breeds normally produces a mule. However, it is possible for a mutation of a mallard-pintail cross to be fertile, and thus it isn’t completely infeasible for the Australian Spotted to have Northern Pintail ancestors.

In addition, David Holderread, one of America’s top waterfowl breeders, has recognized various traits in the Australian Spotted reminiscent of the Northern Pintail.



greenhead australian spotted drake
A Greenhead Australian Spotted drake in a creek. Photo used with permission from Beau McLean at Duck Creek Farm.
bluehead australian spotted drake
A Bluehead Australian Spotted male. Photo used with permission from Beau McLean at Duck Creek Farm.
greenhead australian spotted duck
A Greenhead Australian Spotted female. Photo used with permission from Beau McLean at Duck Creek Farm.
australian spotted duck breed characteristics
The front center duck is a female Bluehead Australian Spotted. Photo used with permission from Beau McLean at Duck Creek Farm.
silverhead australian spotted duck
A Silverhead Australian Spotted female. Photo used with permission from Beau McLean at Duck Creek Farm.
greenhead australian spotted duck
Greenhead Australian Spotted Duck. Photo used with permission from Beau McLean at Duck Creek Farm.
australian spotted and miniature appleyard ducklings
Australian Spotted and Miniature Appleyard ducklings in a box. Photo used with permission from Beau McLean at Duck Creek Farm.

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  1. I luv luv luv the Australian Spotted. They remind me of our cheerful little mallards I had as a kid. We just bought 14 acres outside of Austin TX with a large spring fed pond. I would like more information on how to buy these lovely birds & am willing to wait as we need to build a coop to keep them safe at night.

    Angela Rose
  2. Hi Dave,

    I don’t really want to run sale advertisements on my site for free, but after some deliberation, I’ve decided that since you’re a small breeder, and this particular page currently only receives an average of 25 viewers per week (although the number is on the rise), I’ll run it for free for two months. If you would like to keep it up for longer, you can contact me via email and we can work something out.

    Hannah Miller

    1. Hi Hannah, thank you for allowing me to post a few months back, I sure do appreciate it!! My Australian Spotted ducks are doing great!! I’m getting an average of 14-21 eggs per week, incubated 11 eggs a little less than a month ago, 2 hatched out and fuzzed up, the remaining 9 will be out within a day or 2.
      When these little ones hatch out, I’ll have close to 18 to incubate for my 2nd hatch. It sure is enjoyable breeding and hatching these little bundles of fun!!! Hopefully we can get their numbers up, I don’t wanna see them go extinct. HAVE A GREAT DAY AND TALK TO YOU SOON!!!!

      Dave Antonelli
      1. Hi Dave,

        Great! Have your ducklings sold well?

        I recently ran across a breeder directory listing for Australian Spotted ducks:
        It might be a good place to advertise your ducks, if you add yourself to the breeder listing. I agree we need to get their numbers up! I might someday create a breeder directory, and if I do, I’ll let you know. But it’s not in the plans anytime soon.

        Have a great day!

        Hannah Miller

      2. I’ve been searching for australian spotted ducklings/eggs for years. I can’t believe i stumbled on this website one month after the ad came down – so close! Any way to get in touch?

        1. Hi,

          It was more than a month ago, actually. Well, Dave Antonelli’s email address is d17967a at I don’t know if he’s still selling his ducks, but if he is, I’m sure he would love for you to get in touch. I think I seriously need to consider setting up a breeder directory.

          Or if you would like show/breeder quality ducks, you can make a reservation at Duck Creek Farm (which has connections to the Holderread farm and should thus be pretty reputable):

          Hope that helps!

          Hannah Miller

        2. Hi all,

          I am in Oregon and I maintain a small flock of these Australian Spotted ducks. I occasionally sell hatching eggs, ducklings and adults. I have had this breed since 2011. I started with birds from Holderread Waterfowl Farm and eventually added new blood from the main Washington breeder. I plan to get new birds either from Duck Creek Farm or from Sand Hill preservation center (they own a flock of these now and hope to sell ducklings in 2020)
          Unfortunately there isn’t much interest in them in my state so my focus has been just to maintain my flock until I get interest from people. I don’t want them going extinct either and would love to sell or swap birds to contribute.
          I use Dave Holderread’s standard when I choose breeding birds. Because they are so rare I am not ultra picky but I do care about quality. I don’t show them every year but the last time I did they placed very well, in fact the top placing a non APA breed can win.


          1. Sofia, I’m in Washington and acquired a breeding pair this spring. The seller sent them my way after she had started laying, and although she sent the eggs with them, the hen did not go back to setting. I took the eggs, and the additional one she laid after coming here, and incubated them. Only one successfully hatched, and it’s obviously a silver head female, now that she’s grown out a bit. The hen went back to laying eggs just a couple of weeks ago, and I kept leaving her one egg to entice her to keep laying, and staggered them into the incubator. But she then quit laying after about 7 eggs, and was confidently setting on the one single egg, so I thought I’d give her back some of the eggs, and apparently that really upset her as she left the nest. I didn’t discover she’d entirely left until the next morning, and they were all cold… I put them back in the incubator, but am sure I lost most of them. So I don’t think this second hatch is going to be very good either. But I’m learning. Eventually, even soon, I’m going to need another male for the young female. So since I found you had posted here as recently as 7 months ago, and are located in Oregon, I thought I’d see if we can get in contact with each other. Thanks, Daria

            Daria Lacy
            1. Hi Daria, Sofia’s email address is chickenduckpalace at if you want to contact her.

              Sofia, if you don’t want your email address publicly posted, I’ll take it down. But since you’re interested in selling, I assume you want people to be able to see it. Perhaps I should have posted this earlier (normally I as the moderator am the only one who can see email addresses), but I didn’t think about it until now.


      3. Hi Dave
        Do you have any Australian spotted ducks for sale? I have had this breed since 2006 and I am getting low on numbers. Also need some fresh genes in the gene pool. I am in Austin, Tx. Thanks

        Sheryl McDonald
  3. I have a pair of Australian spotted ducks (green head and blue head) and I’m looking for another pair or three to add to my two as we have completely fallen in love with them over my ancona’s, runners and call ducks.