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Cute Call Duck at Guajome Reg Pk with the Bread Ducks, Nov 16

Today, while birding with Rita Campbell, Gretchen Nell, Patti Koger and Eve Martin at Guajome Pk, Oceanside, we saw a diminutive white Call Duck (Decoy Duck) with the other domestic Mallards, wild Mallards, domestic Geese, Muscovy Ducks, etc along the shore of the lake. We also ran into Barb Carlson while there,  while we were puzzling over this little duck.   I have never seen one of these before in the County, they look very different from the "White Mallards" that seem to be everywhere on lakes, tinier even than teal, and with a very round head and short little beak, and a VERY LOUD  WAK WAK WAK WAK cry  (given frequently!!!) that is different from Mallards.  By googling "domestic white duck breeds" on the drive home, we found  it was a Call Duck, and Barbara also learned the same from Gary Nunn.  
   The Call Duck was first bred in Holland in the 1600's, originally they were used as live decoy ducks. Their small size, about 2 lbs, made them easy to carry, and their loud voice was useful for calling down wild ducks.
      In modern times, Calls are a very popular  exhibition duck, judges on their short deep bodies, heads which are high crowned and wide in the skull, and a bill that is short and wide. They're bred in a number of colors, with more being introduced all the time. The White Call we saw today and the mallard colored Grey Call are the most popular. They are also sold in the pet trade, supposedly hardy and easy to care for, the one  drawback is the noise–the hens have an especially loud  loud quack or call and can be pretty noisy.  
    Pictures of the Call Duck and recording of the call are on our checklist for today at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S49972358 .

Susan Smith

Seiurus Biological  Consulting
Del Mar, CA 



Susan Smith
Seiurus Biological Consulting
Del Mar, CA
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports