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Origin, diffusion and economic characteristics
The first quotations regarding the Curved Beak Duck date back to 1676, when the naturalist Francis Willughby mentioned it in his "Ornithology" as a duck that differed from wild ducks mainly by the beak, which was moderately turned downwards, and for the greater production of eggs.
William Ellis in 1750 called it Crook Bill (hook beak) in his "The Country Housewife's Companion". In the mid-nineteenth century it was fairly widespread throughout the central part of Europe, from Holland to Russia, according to reports from various authors, and was bred for its prized meat and excellent egg production.
According to H. Schimdt (Puten, Perlhuhner, Ganse, Enten 1989) the characteristic of the curved beak comes from a selection created to distinguish them in flight from other wild ducks. Also the characteristic of the bib and of the white primaries derives from this necessity. Thanks to these characteristics the hunters managed to save the domestic ducks during the hunting trips.
Various authors, including Harrison Weir, have cited a possible origin of this particular domestic duck from the Far East or the Indian peninsula. At the moment, however, no definitive evidence has been found to support this hypothesis.
According to Broekman (Waterfowl 1987) in the eighteenth century the curved beaks were very common in the Dutch provinces, where hundreds of thousands of them were raised for meat and for egg production. During the day the English breeders freed them to pasture and in the evening they waited to lock them in their pens. All day long they were left free to graze and feed on the Dutch canals. It was assumed that at the time they could make short flights (a feature they totally lost today), so the curved beak, the bib and the white remiges were a way to distinguish them from wild ducks, which were an important source of food for the Dutch .
Edward Brown, author of various books on the breeding of ducks and chickens in the early twentieth century, visited the intensive laying duck farms in the Netherlands and found that there were no Indian Corritrices, but ducks with a white bib and a curved beak: the Curved Beak Ducks.
Towards the end of the twentieth century, industrial laying hen ducks were gradually closed to make way for chicken farms. This sudden change was amplified by a series of salmonella contaminations on duck farms.
As an ornamental breed, they also suffered from competition from exotic ducks, so the number of curved beak dropped dramatically.
It was thanks to the commitment and passion of the Dutch Domestic Waterfowl Association that the breed returned to its splendor today.
The first curved beak arrived in England in the first half of the nineteenth century; their number was always very limited, some brief appearances in 1913 in "The Feathered World", where the drawing of a wild duck skull and a Curved Beak duck skull was illustrated (you can find it below the article).
Only at the end of the twentieth century did the curved beak spread satisfactorily in England, the English standard was only drafted in 1997, substantially reproducing the Dutch one.
It is a very quiet and sociable duck. She loves to live in packs and is never aggressive. It becomes very easy to tame it, so much so that it is an ideal garden duck. Egg production is important: between 70 and 100 eggs per year.
The main feature of the Curved Beak Duck is the downward curved beak, which together with a thin and delicate head resembles a semicircle. The neck is vertical, the body is quite rounded and long. It has a non-horizontal bearing, around between 30 and 40 degrees.
The main colors are the dark wild or Dark or Dusky (to prevent us from coloring the Dark Campebell) with or without the bib and the primary white wings.
Both exist both in the variant with the tuft, and without a tuft.
The white color was recreated in Holland in the 1980s using the White Campbell.
Currently in England they are also creating the khaki colors with white bib and Buff with white bib.
The best specimens are undoubtedly to be found in Holland and in any case in Continental Europe.
- Males between 2.3 - 2.5 kg
- Females between 1.8 - 2.1 kg
curated by Giacomo Cellini
Curvirostra and wild duck skulls
Curvirostra ducks of the North Sea
Wild white-breasted North Sea Curvirostra ducks