Ancona Duck – A Rare Duck Breed

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Last updated on May 17th, 2024 at 12:50 pm

Ancona ducks are a unique and beautiful breed that is known for their distinctive mottled plumage and excellent laying ability. They are also relatively easy to care for and make a great addition to any backyard flock. Our Penny is an Ancona, and she is just beautiful.

Penny – Our Ancona Duck

In this blog post, we will take a comprehensive look at the Ancona duck breed, including their history, appearance, temperament, and care requirements. We will also discuss some of the benefits of raising Ancona ducks and provide tips for finding a reputable breeder.


The Ancona duck is a relatively new breed that was developed in the United States in the early 1900s. The breed is thought to have originated from a cross between Magpie ducks and other breeds, such as the Indian Runner duck and the Pekin duck.

The Ancona duck is named after the Ancona chicken because of their similar appearance. On the other hand, the chicken is named after the city of Ancona, the capital of the Marches region of Italy.

Funny anecdote: I used the hashtag Ancona on Instagram for a while when I was posting about Penny, and someday, someone reached out to me asking why I was using this hashtag. This person was from Italy and was following this hashtag because he was from the city of Ancona. But now he was always getting pictures of our Penny in his feed 😄.

The American Poultry Association first recognized the Ancona duck in 1922, but it was removed from the Standard of Perfection in 1996. This is because the breed had become relatively rare, and there were not enough breeders to maintain a consistent standard.

In 2000, there were only 125 breeding Ancona ducks in the United States, and the breed was designated as critically endangered by the Livestock Conservancy in 2015. However, thanks to conservation efforts, the Ancona duck population has recently increased to between 1,000 and 1,500 breeding pairs. This increase has moved the Ancona duck off the critically endangered list and onto the watch list.


Ancona ducks are medium-sized, averaging 6-6.5 pounds, with a stocky build. They have a distinctive black and white mottled plumage, which is often described as looking like a Holstein cow. Ancona ducks also have yellow bills with dark green or black spotting and orange legs and feet with black or brown markings that increase with age. No two birds are marked exactly the same.

Ancona Duck
Penny, our Ancona Duck

The appearance of Ancona ducks is very similar to Magpie ducks. However, their patterns are different. Magpies have a black-and-white pattern similar to a magpie bird’s markings.

Ancona Varieties

The Ancona duck comes in six varieties: Black and White, Blue and White, Chocolate and White, Silver and White, Lavender and White, and Tricolored.

The Chocolate variety is a sex-linked recessive trait, meaning the gene for chocolate feathers is located on the sex chromosome. If a chocolate drake (male duck) mates with a black duck, all female offspring will be chocolate, and all male offspring will be black. This is because the female offspring receive the chocolate gene from their father and a black gene from their mother. The male offspring receive a black gene from both parents.

If a black drake mates with a chocolate duck, all the offspring will be black. This is because the male offspring do not receive the chocolate gene from their father, and the female offspring receive a black gene from both parents. Only male offspring will carry the sex-linked recessive chocolate gene.


Ancona ducks are known for their calm and friendly temperament. They are also relatively quiet ducks, making them a good choice for backyard flocks. Ancona ducks are also good foragers and will enjoy spending time grazing in the yard.

Ancona ducks are good at finding their own food, including large slugs. They are also good pets if you handle them when they are young. They don’t wander far, and they can’t fly.

Infographic- Ancona Duck Characteristics

Care Requirements

Ancona ducks are relatively easy to care for. They need a clean, dry coop with plenty of fresh water and food. Ancona ducks also need access to a fenced-in area where they can forage and swim.

Benefits of Raising Ancona Ducks

There are many benefits to raising Ancona ducks. They are excellent layers, producing an average of 210-280 eggs annually. Egg color ranges from greenish/blue to white. Ancona ducks are also relatively fast growers and produce high-quality meat. But we obviously don’t care about that. We would never eat our Penny.

In addition, Ancona ducks are hardy and adaptable birds. They can tolerate a variety of climates and are relatively resistant to disease. Ancona ducks are also relatively low-maintenance birds, making them a good choice for first-time duck owners.

Just so you know, Ancona Ducks cannot really fly. They may try to jump and flap their wings, but they never get very high or far off the ground. Therefore, wing clipping is not necessary for them. However, it’s important to keep in mind that every duck is different. If you have a cross-breed, they may have different abilities and might be able to fly.

Ancona Duck
Penny our Ancona Duck

Finding a Reputable Breeder

If you are interested in raising Ancona ducks, it is important to find a reputable breeder. There are a few things you can look for to identify a reputable breeder, such as:

  • Knowledgeable about the Ancona duck breed and be able to answer your questions about their birds.
  • Clean and well-maintained facility.
  • Provide you with health certificates for their birds.

Here are some breeders that do sell Ancona Ducks in the US:


Ancona ducks are a unique and beautiful breed that is known for their distinctive mottled plumage and excellent laying ability. They are also relatively easy to care for and make a great addition to any backyard flock.

If you are interested in raising Ancona ducks, be sure to do your research and find a reputable breeder. With proper care, your Ancona ducks will thrive and provide you with many years of enjoyment.

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Melanie (Duck Mom)
Melanie (Duck Mom)

Introducing Melanie, the passionate soul behind Ducks of Providence, your ultimate duck haven. With her flock of feathered friends by her side - Emma, Hertha, Schnatterinchen, Penny, Simon, Ronja, and Krümel - she leads readers on a quacking adventure like no other. Dive into the wonders of duck keeping with Melanie as your guide, from practical tips to heartwarming tales. Whether you're a seasoned pro or dipping your toes into the duck pond for the first time, Melanie is here to make your journey as delightful as a sunny day at the pond. Let's quack together and celebrate the joy of duck keeping!

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