Domestic duck

Domestic duck

Domestic duck, Domestic mallard


2 languages
Anas platyrhynchos domesticus

The domestic duck (Anas platyrhynchos domesticus ) or domestic mallard is a variety of mallard that has been domesticated by humans and raised for meat, eggs, and down feathers. A few are also kept for show, as pets, or for their ornamental value. Almost all varieties of domesticated ducks, apart from the domestic Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata ), are descended from the mallard.


Habits and Lifestyle

Diet and Nutrition

Mating Habits




Whole-genome sequencing indicate that domestic ducks originate from a single domestication event of mallards during the Neolithic, followed by rapid selection for lineages favoring meat or egg production. They were likely domesticated in Southeast Asia (most likely Southern China) by the rice paddy-farming ancestors of modern Southeast Asians. The date of domestication is unknown due to the scarcity of archaeological records. They spread outwards from the region, first being mentioned in Han Chinese written records in central China by around 500 BC. Duck farming for both meat and eggs is a widespread and ancient industry in Southeast Asia.

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Wild ducks were hunted extensively in Ancient Egypt and other parts of the world in ancient times. But they were not domesticated. Ducks are also mentioned to be present in Ancient Rome since at least the 2nd century BC. But based on descriptions (most notably by Columella), ducks in Roman agriculture were only tamed, not domesticated. Duck breeding didn't exist in the Roman period, requiring the harvesting of eggs from wild ducks to start duck farms.

Almost all varieties of domestic duck except the muscovy have been derived from the mallard. Domestication has greatly altered their characteristics. Domestic ducks are mostly promiscuous, where wild mallards are monogamous. Domestic ducks have lost the mallard's territorial behaviour, and are less aggressive than mallards. Despite these differences, domestic ducks frequently mate with wild mallards, producing fully fertile hybrid offspring.

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