Do Black and Yellow Ducks Exist?

black and yellow ducks

Ducks are aquatic birds with flat, broadbills (beaks) that usually have one or two dominant colors, like black, brown, or gray, with various bright colorful accents. 

Ducks, like most other birds, sport a variety of colors, but are there black and yellow ducks?

Ducks come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and yes, that includes black and yellow. Ducks can be found with all black or all yellow plumage, but ducks with a mixture of black and yellow feathers are not uncommon.

Let’s take a look at which ducks have black and yellow feathers, as well as some interesting facts about ducks and their plumage.

Do You Get Black Ducks?

There are many ducks with black plumage (feathers). Some are almost completely black, like the Swedish Blue duck, and some are half or a third black, like the ring-necked duck

As mentioned above, there are many black ducks out there to see. Let’s explore some black duck breeds and where we can find them.  

Ring-Necked Duck

This diving duck (ducks that dive underwater for their food) enjoys freshwater lakes and ponds in North America. 

ring necked duck

The male ring-necked duck has a beautiful black upper plumage, which is supported by gray and white feathers underneath, accentuating the black even more. 

The female ring-necked ducks have a more rich brown color. If you want to see these beauties, you should visit the ponds and lakes of the midwest in the month of March. 

Swedish Blue Duck

The Swedish blue duck’s name is slightly misleading as this duck appears to be almost completely black – and it is. 

swedish blue duck

The name can be attributed to the grayish-blue shades and white bibs from their beaks to their chests. The bill is usually green but can vary from a paler green to a more saturated color. 

As the name suggests, this duck originated in Sweden – Pomerania to be specific. Today, this area is in northern Germany and Poland. 

So if you want to see Blue Swedish ducks, don’t go to Sweden!

Black Scoter Duck

The Black Scoter is a large all-black sea duck with a strangely shaped bill featuring a bright yellow knob on it. Like a ninja duck, it even has black eyes. 

black scoter duck

These black beauties, and their brown female partners, migrate to breed in the far north of North America and eastern Siberia

Then, they fly south for summer around the Atlantic Coast and some as far South as China to enjoy the warmer weather. 

Other black feathered ducks include:

  • Pomeranian Black ducks (domesticated Germanic duck breed)

Do Yellow Ducks Exist?

Technically, yes, yellow ducks do exist – but it’s a slightly more complicated situation than a simple yes.

Pekin ducks are a type of duck breed that have yellow plumage (feathers) when they are ducklings (baby ducks). 

As the yellow ducklings mature into ducks or drakes (male ducks), the feathers grow out  and turn into a snow-white color. 

Contrary to popular belief, not all ducks start out life as yellow balls of fluff, but many of the ducks we see often, do. 

Let’s explore some of our yellow-feathered duck friends. 

Saxony Ducklings

This domesticated Germanic duck (originally breeding in Germany) hatches as a completely yellow duckling. 

saxony duckling

The male feathers become a blueish-gray around the head, while the breast feathers become a rusty chestnut color. The female is a light, rich brown-yellow (buff) color. 

Saxony ducks were domesticated by humans to be used for their eggs and meat, and are known as a dual-purpose breed

If you are interested in starting a duck family, you can purchase Saxony ducks online – males setting you back about $7 each and females as little as $14. 

Magpie Duck

As ducklings, magpie ducks have black and yellow feathers. As they mature, the yellow feathers fade out and become white, while the black feathers remain.

magpie duck

Originally bred in Britain to resemble the European magpie with its striking black and white contrasting feathers, the magpie duck is quite beautiful and is often reared for showing.

If duck shows are your thing and you’re looking for a strong competitor, you should consider getting some magpie ducks.

Even though these ducks are domesticated and bred, they are listed as critically endangered – Which gives even more of a reason to go out and start your duck family today.

Who knows, you could win some competitions and help a struggling population at the same time!

Indian Runner Ducks

Indian runner ducks are very interesting birds, and they are also yellow as ducklings. They are easy to distinguish from other ducks due to their very upright posture. 

indian runner duck

Indian runner ducks are domesticated water-loving ducks that live in the East Indies archipelago and grow out of their yellow duckling fluff into various colors due to color breeding.

Color breeding can be seen much the same way as our genetics for hair or eye color is carried down through generations.

They are sought after for their delicious rich eggs and ability to lay a lot of them. Since they are small, skinny little ducks, they are not revered for their meat production.

With that posture, Indian runner ducks would make a posh addition to any duck family and provide some color variety to the egg basket – their eggs are pale Blue or white.

Other ducks that start life as yellow ducklings include:

  • Call duck (small bright yellow duckling)
  • Aylesbury duck (yellow duckling with a pink bill)
  • German Pekin duck (yellow, but not as bright as American Pekin duck)

There are clearly many black ducks, and a few yellow ducklings out there to be seen. But what about black and yellow ducks?

Are There Ducks With Black and Yellow Plumage?

As it turns out, it’s another duckling scenario – a few ducks start out as yellow and black, then grow into some other colors as they mature.

ducks with black and yellow plumage

These ducks include:

  • Black Swedish ducklings: They are black with a yellow chest. The yellow chest turns white as they mature.
  • Rouen ducklings: They are yellow with black wings and stripes by the eyes.
  • Mallard ducklings: They are the same as Rouen ducklings, but smaller.

Many people believe that birds get the color of their feathers from what they eat, but is this true for all birds, and if not, how do they get their magnificent colors?

How Do Birds Get Their Feather Colors?

It’s true that birds get their warmer, brighter feather colors from eating food containing carotenoid pigment. 

Birds get their low-tone feather colors like black, gray, brown, and orange from melanin – the same pigment found in humans – which is naturally produced by birds.

So that means that ducks get their beautifully colored feathers from two pigments, one produced by the duck itself (melanin), and the other taken in through food (carotenoid). 

Imagine your hair turned orange from eating carrots, purple from juicing beetroots, or blue from blueberry smoothies. Would you have rainbow hair if you ate a colorful fruit salad? 

You could have a delicious snack and save your hair from damage at the same time – the possibilities are endless!

Incredibly, ducks change the color of their feathers as they mature (usually darker and more prominent colors) – a skill surely many women and men would love to have. 

Since what ducks eat influences their feather colors, is a change in diet the cause of the change in color from duckling to duck?

Why Do Ducklings Change Color As They Mature?

There are two main reasons why ducklings are thought to look so different to mature ducks. 

First, when considering wild chicks, they usually have a yellow and black or brown dappled look, helping them camouflage themselves safe from predators. 

Second, ducklings look different in order to initiate parenting behavior from mother ducks. If the duckling looks mature, the parent duck would be confused and treat it as an enemy. 

Ducks are cute, and are considerably smart, no–one said they were geniuses.

When ducklings mature, they are less interested in parenting and safety, and more interested in attracting mates with their looks. 

Ducks, and birds in general, replace their feathers about once a year as they wear out, giving them many opportunities to amaze us.

This is not only for us, but gives them a fighting edge when trying to attract a mate and expand their population.

Do All Ducklings Mature Into Different Colors And at What Age Does It Happen?

All ducklings, and other baby birds, mature into different colors. 

In other words, an adult or mature bird will always look different to its chick. Not only in size and shape, but in color and plumage patterns.

This happens around 15 weeks old for ducks

Ducks usually get their first down feathers at 3 weeks and go into their first molt – juvenile plumage (feathers) – at 6 weeks. 

At 15 weeks, the duck molts into its adult plumage where it is at its most magnificent and shows off all its glory.

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