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Magpie Duck: 15 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Interested in domestic duck breeds? Here are some Magpie duck facts for you!

Breeding poultry birds for their eggs and meat is an age-old practice around the world. No doubt, there are several domestic breeds of ducks and chicken that we know of today. One such domesticated duck breed of Britain is the Magpie duck.

The Magpie duck is a domestic duck breed, bred post the First World War in the early 20th century. It is believed to have been originally developed by Oliver Drake and M.C. Gower-Williams in Wales.  The birds have an upright carriage and their distinctive black and white plumage pattern is similar to the European Magpie. It is believed that the Belgian Huttegem and the Indian Runner duck may be part of the ancestral bloodline of the modern Magpie duck. A historic Belgian duck breed, the Belgian Huttegem, was raised in the 1800s and is thought to have had possible runner duck breed ancestry. Despite the introduction of the Magpie ducks in the early 20th century in Britain, it was not until 1963 when Michigan's Isaac Hunter imported the first Magpies into the United States. They were accepted by the American Standard of Perfection soon after.

Proficient egg-layers with gourmet quality meat, the black-crested Magpie duck is a lightweight fowl that remains one of the rare domesticated duck varieties found today. If you want to know more about the Magpies, read on! If you like what you read, do check out facts about the harlequin duck and torrent duck.

Magpie Duck Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Magpie duck?

The black and white Magpie duck is a lightweight domestic duck breed developed by Oliver Drake and M.C. Gower-Williams in Wales.

What class of animal does a Magpie duck belong to?

Magpie ducks belong to the class Aves which includes all birds.

How many Magpie ducks are there in the world?

Since the Magpie duck is a domestic breed, it is not possible to ascertain its exact population size.

Where does a Magpie duck live?

Magpie ducks are kept in duck houses on farms or domestic households.

What is a Magpie duck's habitat?

Although the Magpie duck is originally a British duck breed, they were brought to the United States in 1963 and rapidly gained popularity in the American breeder community. The Magpie ducks have the basic needs of clean swimming and drinking water, clean bedding, a protective pen or run, and a coop or duck house. The coop should preferably be near the ground and should have a minimum of 5-6 sq ft (0.4-0.5 m) of space for each duck, and the run must be at least 12-15 sq ft (1.1-1.4 m) per duck.

Who do Magpie ducks live with?

Since the Magpie duck temperament is quite calm and docile in nature, they can be kept along with mixed breeds of duck or other poultry birds.

How long does a Magpie duck live?

The average lifespan of the Magpie duck ranges between 9-12 years.

How do they reproduce?

Almost any breed of duck prefers to mate in the water but may also breed on land. A male Magpie duck can mate with several females, and the best breeding ratio for these ducks is one male duck for every five mature females. The female Magpies do not usually begin laying until they are 25-30 weeks old.

After mating and fertilization, the female Magpie duck will typically lay around six large eggs but will not incubate them until it feels that the clutch is complete. The incubation period for the Magpie duck breed eggs is approximately 18-19 days, a week shorter than the time the eggs of other common domestic duck breeds take to hatch. Each Magpie duck breed egg weighs about 2.8 oz (80 g). Female Magpies that have a history of laying good quality and high quantity eggs and males that come from healthy mothers are usually the best breeders

What is their conservation status?

Since the Magpie duck is a domestic breed, it is Not Listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

Magpie Duck Fun Facts

What do Magpie ducks look like?

The modern Magpie duck has a distinctive black and white plumage like that of the European Magpie birds. The feathering of this breed of duck is predominantly white with colored (mostly black) patches on areas on the back and the top of the head. The head is rather broad. The patch of colored feathers on the crown makes it seem as if the ducks are wearing a cap on the head. With age, the black cap on the head begins to show streaks of white and may eventually become entirely white.

The Magpie ducks have a moderately long and streamlined body with a long neck and a rounded chest. The bills of this duck breed are long and may be either yellow or orange. The legs and feet are orange-colored as well. A large colored patch extends along the back from the shoulders to the tail. The black-and-white and blue-and-white varieties are the standard ones, but others such as chocolate-and-white and dun-and-white are less common.

Magpie ducks have characteristic black patches on the plumage.

How cute are they?

The breed of Magpie ducks is one of the most adorable and cute breeds of ducks seen today. The mosaic of black patches on the white plumage of these birds makes them look extremely beautiful.

How do they communicate?

The Magpie ducks are not generally noisy but become vocal when upset or scared. Like any other breed of duck, the Magpies may make the usual quacking sound along with a range of different calls such as chatters, barks, croaks, coos, growls, groans, hisses, grunts, whistles, squeaks, purrs, and hoots. The volume, rhythm, pitch, number of repetitions, and other sound qualities will vary with the ducks' situation, age, and gender.

How big is a Magpie duck?

The exact dimensions of the Magpie ducks are not available.

How fast can a Magpie duck fly?

The Magpie ducks are not bred to fly. Their flying capabilities are limited to flapping their small wings to lift themselves off the ground for a foot or so and moving forward a few feet.

How much does a Magpie duck weigh?

According to the American standard of Perfection for the breed of Magpie ducks, adult male Magpie ducks weigh about 5 lb (2.3 kg), and adult females weigh around 4.5 lb (2 kg) on average.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male ducks are called drakes, and females are called hens.

What would you call a baby Magpie duck?

A baby Magpie duck is called a duckling.

What do they eat?

Being active foragers, this breed of duck can graze and hunt for food such as insects, seeds, berries, grass, and aquatic organisms. The Magpies commonly forage on small frogs, tadpoles, slugs, small crustaceans, snails, mosquitoes and their larvae, small lizards, and other common insects. Besides, the Magpie ducks can also be fed standard poultry bird feed, especially during the winters when foraging for food becomes challenging.

Are they friendly?

Yes, the Magpies are not just friendly but extremely calm and docile.

Would they make a good pet?

Given the dual-purpose breed of ducks they are, the Magpies make excellent pets. They are active and docile and freely socialize with almost any other breed of duck, making the Magpies the ideal farm fowl.

Did you know...

The Magpie ducks were recognized and admitted to the Standard of Perfection of the American Poultry Association in 1977.

The Magpies are a Critically Endangered breed according to the American Livestock Breed Conservancy.

While a fully-feathered female Magpie duck has straight feathers on its tail, the males have curled feathers.

A unique feature of the Magpie duck is that the color patterning of the ducklings remains unchanged as they enter adulthood. The pattern they are born with is what stays with them forever.

When relaxed, a Magpie duck's body carriage is 150 to 30 degrees above the horizontal. The angle becomes slightly higher when the birds are agitated.

The Magpie duck has a body shape similar to that of the Khaki Campbell, another British breed of domestic duck.

Even though a Magpie duck is not capable of flight, a startled bird may propel itself over a 2-3 ft (0.6-0.9 m)wall. The Magpies can easily get agitated, and they are more prone to panic than other duck breeds such as the Rouen, Pekin, or Khaki Campbell.

The meat from a single Magpie duck is enough to feed two to three adults. Given the light-colored underbellies of these ducks, the carcasses pick cleanly.

Are Magpie ducks good layers?

Yes, the Magpies are good egg layers and lay about 220-290 eggs annually.

A good alternative to the Magpie duck is the Indian runner. Considered a parent breed of the Magpies, the Indian runner duck has a similar temperament and stance as the Magpie duck. Further, the Indian runner breed has an even better egg production capacity than the Magpies, producing between 300-350 eggs per year.

How much does a Magpie duck cost?

Depending on the supplier, Magpie ducklings can cost you anything between $8.99-$16.10 USD.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our king eider facts and yellow-billed duck facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable magpie duck coloring pages.

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