The standard mallard comes to mind when you think of rare duck breeds. After all, it’s one of the most well-known types of ducklings out there, and if you’re looking for them to populate your farm, it’s a great choice.
But did you know plenty of other rare duck breeds are out there? Below are some of the rarest duck breeds you can buy—and why they make great additions to any duck enthusiast’s flock!
1. Silver Teal Ducks
The silver teal duck is a small dabbling duck found in wooded areas near water. The adult male has a dark green head and a silver-grey body with white stripes on the sides.
The adult female is brown with white stripes on the sides. The silver teal duck is native to South America and is found in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
2. White-Cheeked Pintail Ducks
These rare duck breeds are native to South America, and their population is unfortunately in decline. They have white cheeks with a black stripe that goes from their eyes to their bill. The body of the White-Cheeked Pintail is primarily grey with some brown on the wings.
The males have a green head, while the females have a brown head. These rare duck breeds can reach up to 22 inches in length and 3 pounds in weight.
3. Northern Pintail Ducks
Northern Pintail Ducks are wild ducks found in parts of North America, Europe, and Asia. They get their name from their long, thin tail feathers, which point backward. These ducks are primarily brown and white, with males having more distinct coloring than females.
Northern Pintail Ducks are good swimmers and can fly at high speeds. They eat various foods, including plants, insects, and small fish.
4. Madagascar Pochard Ducks
The Madagascar Pochard is a species of duck that was thought to be extinct until 2006 when a small group of them was discovered in a remote area of Madagascar. These rare duck breeds are very rare, and only an estimated 60-70 of them exist.
The Madagascar Pochard is a beautiful duck with red eyes and brownish-red plumage. If you’re lucky enough to see one of these ducks, it’s sure to be a memorable experience!
5. Ruddy Ducks
The Ruddy Duck is a species of waterfowl that can be found in North and South America. These type of rare duck breeds get their name from their ruddy-brown plumage.
Ruddy Ducks are small birds, with males measuring 16 to 17 inches in length and females measuring 14 to 15 inches.
Males also have a large bill, which is black with a white band near the tip. Females have a smaller bill that is brown with a white band near the tip. The Ruddy Duck is the least concerned species by the IUCN, meaning it is not currently at risk of extinction.
6. Barrow’s Goldeneye Ducks
Barrow’s goldeneye ducks are one of the rarest duck breeds in North America. They are so rare that they are only found in a few parts of Alaska. These rare duck breeds get their name from their yellow eyes and orange bills.
The males have black feathers with a greenish sheen, while the females are brown with white spots. These rare duck breeds are mostly found near ponds and lakes, where they eat aquatic plants and insects.
If threatened, they will dive underwater to escape danger. Barrow’s Goldeneye Ducks lay 8-12 eggs per clutch and the incubation period is between 24-28 days.
7. American Black Ducks
The American Black Duck is a large dabbling duck found in North America. They are one of the most hunted ducks in North America due to their dark plumage and tasty meat.
The population of American Black Ducks has been declining in recent years due to habitat loss and hunting pressure.
There are an estimated 1.5 million American Black Ducks in North America today. Hunters nearly eradicated the wild population because they were prized for their feathers, flesh, eggs, and oil.
They were nearly driven to extinction before any conservation efforts could be made. Luckily, some breeding programs have helped bring back this beautiful breed.
8. Baer’s Pochard Ducks
Baer’s Pochard ducks are a critically endangered species of duck that is native to Ethiopia. The ducks were named after the German naturalist and explorer Carl Eduard Von Baer. As of 2016, only 50-60 ducks remain in the wild.
These rare duck breeds are sexually dimorphic, meaning that the males and females look different from each other. The males have black feathers with a white chest and belly, while the females are brown with white spots. These ducks typically eat aquatic plants and insects.
9. Common Eider Ducks
The Common Eider is a large duck easily recognizable by its striking black and white plumage. It is one of the largest ducks in North America, with a wingspan of up to four feet!
The Common Eider is a protected species in many parts of the world, and its population is slowly recovering.
These rare duck breeds are rarely seen in captivity, but they can make great pets if you find one! They will enjoy swimming in your pool, taking long walks around your neighborhood, and even hunting for their food outside if you happen to be visiting Nova Scotia in Canada during springtime, head over to the Bay of Fundy, where these beautiful birds nest during the summer months!
10. Cinnamon Teal Ducks
These little guys are native to South America, but they’ve been introduced to North America, Europe, and Asia. They’re one of the smallest teal breeds, and they get their name from their reddish-brown plumage. While they’re not the rarest duck breed on this list, they are relatively uncommon.
This might be your breed if you’re looking for a unique pet duck! Cinnamon Teal Ducks make good companion pets as long as they have ample space to roam around. These small ducks can live up to 18 years old with proper care and attention.
11. Brazilian Merganser Ducks
These rare duck breeds are so rare that there are only about 200 of them in existence! They are found in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil and are critically endangered. The Brazilian Merganser is a large duck with a long, thin bill and bright red eyes.
They have dark brown plumage with iridescent green feathers on their wings. These ducks are very shy and difficult to observe in the wild.
These cute rare duck breeds are also highly social. They can swim long distances, dive underwater to catch fish, and stay underwater for as long as thirty seconds.
If threatened, they may kick up a lot of sand with their feet to disguise themselves from predators! Brazilian Merganser Ducks have existed since prehistoric times, over 12 million years ago.
12. Long-tailed Ducks
The long-tailed duck is a sea duck with a body length of 20 to 26 inches. The males have a black head, white chest and belly, and a long, curved black tail. The females are brownish-grey with a white chin and throat.
These rare duck breeds in the Arctic tundra spend the winter in coastal waters. They were almost hunted to extinction for their beautiful feathers, but now they’re protected by law.
13. Harlequin Ducks
The harlequin duck has an unusual pattern of black and white feathers on its back that gives it its name. It’s about 18 inches long, and its underparts are dark grey or olive-brown with light speckles all over them.
14. Canvasback Ducks
The Canvasback is a large duck with a long, sloping profile. The male has a dark red head and neck, white breast and belly, and black back and tail. The female is similar but has a brown head and neck.
Both sexes have grey legs and feet. Canvasbacks are strong swimmers and divers and are often seen far out at sea. They feed primarily on aquatic plants but will also eat crustaceans, mollusks, and small fish.
Canvasbacks breed in fresh or brackish marshes across North America. The female builds a nest of grasses, feathers, and down concealed among the vegetation. She lays 7-12 eggs which hatch in 26-28 days.
15. Harlequin Ducks
These rare duck breeds are easily recognizable by their unique coloring. The males have a black head and back with two large white patches, while the females are mostly brown.
Harlequin ducks are native to North America and Europe and can be found near fast-moving rivers and streams.
These ducks are excellent swimmers and climbers, and they are known for their acrobatic displays. They feed on insects, small crustaceans, mollusks, amphibians, and fish.
When threatened by predators or natural disturbances such as floods or forest fires, these ducks often flee into the water rather than flying away from danger.
16. King Eider Ducks
King Eider Ducks are large, beautiful birds native to the Arctic regions of North America and Europe. They have a black head and neck, white markings on their face, and a brightly colored bill. The males are particularly striking, with their long, greenish-black tails.
These kinds of rare duck breeds are excellent swimmers and can dive to depths of over 60 feet in search of food. While they are not endangered, they are considered rare due to their limited range.
17. Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks
These rare duck breeds are social creatures that often live in groups of 20 or more. They get their name from their distinctive call, which is a long, high-pitched trill.
Black-bellied whistling ducks are found in warm regions of the Americas, including parts of the southern United States, Mexico, and Central and South America. These ducks prefer to nest in tree cavities but will also use man-made nest boxes.
18. Red-Breasted Merganser Ducks
The red-breasted merganser is a large duck with a long, thin bill. Males have a green head with a white stripe running down the middle, while females are brownish-gray with a whitish throat.
These rare duck breeds in the northern parts of North America and Europe and winter along the coasts of the United States and southern Europe. Red-breasted mergansers eat fish, crustaceans, and insects. They often dive underwater to catch their prey.
Whether you’re an experienced birdwatcher or someone who’s just getting started, you’re sure to be impressed by the beauty and variety of these rare duck breeds.
From the striking blue plumage of the Harlequin Duck to the unusual crest of the Mandarin Duck, there’s a lot to admire in these unique birds.
While some breeds are rare in the wild, others are more commonly found in captivity. No matter where you encounter them, these rare duck breeds will surely add a touch of whimsy and wonder to your day.