Order: Anseriformes - screamers, ducks, geese, and swan
Family: Anatidae- ducks, geese, and swan
Scientific Name: Anas platyrhynchos
**This Species is no longer exhibited at the Lee Richardson Zoo**
Description: This duck is one of the many domestic forms of the wild mallard. The body structure and appearance of the Indian runner duck (IRD) is nearly identical to that of the mallard. The distinguishing trait that sets them apart from mallards is their upright and erect stance. The IRD is a very slender duck with a thin neck and a flat head. Their legs are set far back near the tail so they are forced to extend themselves as vertically as possible. The drake is between 3½-5 lbs while the duck ranges 3-4½ lbs. Their height when fully upright ranges from 24in. to 31in. Their coloration varies widely.
Home Range: A widespread domestic species, they are most popular in Europe, and common in Asia, Australia, and America.
Habitat Type: Not adapted for the wild.
Reproduction: Like most ducks, they are polygamous (one male will mate with several females). Only the female incubates. Their rapid egg production is especially valued. One duck is capable of producing 180 eggs per year, which is comparable to what many domestic chickens produce. If allowed to develop, it takes approximately 28 days for chicks to hatch. Most eggs are collected for food before they can develop.
Diet in the Wild: Does not exist in the wild.
Diet in the Zoo: Layer pellets, fruits and vegetables, and a scratch mix consisting of various seeds.
General Information: In Europe, some people still call this duck the “penguin duck”. Although their stance might suggest they are slow walkers, they are actually quicker than most ducks when on land. They are perfectly at home in the water as well. The IRD was developed over 2000 years ago in Indonesia. It spread through Asia and ended up in Europe by the 1800s. It was valued as an egg source and a cheap source of meat for many people during this time. The first record of an IRD exhibit was in 1835 at the London Zoo. Traditionally this duck was adapted to a life in rice paddies for use as an egg and meat source. Interestingly, they were trained to follow a rag tied to the end of a stick carried by a human who led them out to the rice paddies. At night they would be led back to shelter so they could roost and lay. Eventually they got to the point where they would follow this rag anywhere, ultimately to their slaughter.
Conservation Status: Not threatened or endangered. In 1901 the IRD was nearly absent in Europe after years of cross breeding. More IRDs were imported from Asia, and their genetic purity was reestablished.
Predators: Small mammalian predators.
Indian Runner Duck Association (I.R.D.A)
Handbook of the Birds of the World Vol. 1 Ostrich to Ducks. Josep del Hoyo et al. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. pg. 564.
Natural History of the Waterfowl. 1997. Frank S. Todd. Ibis Publishing, Vista, California. pg. 287.