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What is an Indian Runner Duck?

By Steve R.
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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A domestic duck native to the Indian sub-continent and Malaysia, the Indian runner duck is characterized by its unique stance and bowling pin shape. The duck possesses short thighs, and to compensate for its short center of gravity, the bird keeps an erect posture. Since its feet are further back than those of most species of ducks, the Indian runner duck runs instead of waddles. Due to its short wings, the duck is incapable of flying. Appearing in a variety of colors, including white, blue, green, brown, and black, the Indian runner duck generally stands about 14 inches (36 cm) high and weighs between 3 and 5 lbs (about 1 and 2 kg).

Characterized by its long neck, the duck is pften described as a wine bottle with feet. An ancestor of the wild mallard, the Indian runner duck also has a long, tube-shaped body with slanting shoulders. The duck has a blocked-shaped bill and a small head. Only the females have the ability to quack. The males are restricted to a gravelly whisper.

Known by the scientific name Anas platyrhynchos, the Indian runner duck is a very fertile creature. The species is a capable of laying 150 to 200 eggs annually and it is not unusual for some ducks to lay one egg a day. The duck is able to lay so many eggs because the creature does not possess a motherly instinct to constantly sit on its nest.

By six months of age, the bird is able to lay eggs. The eggs vary in color, ranging from white, blue, or green. The incubation period for eggs is less than one month.

The Indian runner duck received its name as the species originated from the islands of Indonesia, once known as the Dutch Indies. Early Dutch explorers and importers alluded to the mallards as "penguin ducks," as a reference to their unique appearance and gait. Brought to Scotland by a ship captain in the 1800s, the ducks were eventually imported to England and other European nations for their ability to lay eggs. The ducks were introduced to America in the early 1900s.

In the wild, the Indian runner duck is a scavenger. It feeds on slugs, worms, insects, duckweed, and grass. Oftentimes, the ducks are bred to help keep the populations of insects and other pests under control. In captivity, the ducks feed on lettuce and duck pellets.

Indian runner ducks are often raised for their lean meat and their eggs. The ducks can also raised as an exhibition bird, as they can be handled easily. Their demeanor is fairly calm, but if they are trapped, they can get nervous and panic.

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Discussion Comments
By anon122487 — On Oct 28, 2010

Our runners can fly; not far, but they can fly. Our Pekin, not really. - Lizziewriter

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