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.

A Silverhead Australian Spotted drake.
A Silverhead Australian Spotted drake.

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 Infographic

History

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.

GALLERY

Greenhead Australian Spotted drake.
A Greenhead Australian Spotted drake in a creek. Photo courtesy of Beau McLean at Duck Creek Farm.
Bluehead Australian Spotted Male
A Bluehead Australian Spotted male. Photo courtesy of Beau McLean at Duck Creek Farm.
Greenhead Australian Spotted female
A Greenhead Australian Spotted female. Photo courtesy of Beau McLean at Duck Creek Farm.
bluehead Australian Spotted female
The front center duck is a female Bluehead Australian Spotted. Photo courtesy of Beau McLean at Duck Creek Farm.
A Silverhead Australian Spotted female.
A Silverhead Australian Spotted female. Photo courtesy of Beau McLean at Duck Creek Farm.
Greenhead Australian Spotted Duck. Photo courtesy of Beau McLean at Duck Creek Farm (www.duckcreekfarm.com).
Greenhead Australian Spotted Duck. Photo courtesy of Beau McLean at Duck Creek Farm (www.duckcreekfarm.com).
Australian Spotted and Miniature Appleyard ducklings in a box.
Australian Spotted and Miniature Appleyard ducklings in a box. Photo courtesy of Beau McLean at Duck Creek Farm.

7 Comments

  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.

    Sincerely,
    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:
        https://www.poultryshowcentral.com/Australian_Spotted_Bantam_Ducks.html
        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?

        Xhristy
        1. Hi,

          It was more than a month ago, actually. Well, Dave Antonelli’s email address is d17967a at gmail.com. 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): http://www.duckcreekfarm.com/fall-2018-adult-bird-reservations

          Hope that helps!

          Sincerely,
          Hannah Miller

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