It was introduced to Britain by the 1850s. In 1865, it was one of the first six waterfowl breeds to be standardised there, but by the middle of the 20th century they were rare. Determined efforts by a few breeders re-popularised the breed and today they are common. In the United States, the Gray and White varieties were listed in the first Standard of Perfection in 1874 and in 1935, the use of Call Ducks in duck hunting was permanently banned in every state as it was considered a cruel and inhumane practice. Photo to the left shows a very good UK specimen.
Very little seems to be known of the history of Calls in Australia. However, Norm Parish, in South Australia is accredited as one of the earliest and most successful breeders of Call ducks, and offspring from stock from Norm's famous Balaclava property have found their way to breeders all over Australia. They have never been used for duck hunting in Australia.
There has been a remarkable growth in these little birds in the Northern hemisphere over the last 20 years, and while good birds are still relatively rare in shows in Australia, we can expect interest to grow in a similar way.
Characteristics of the Call is described in the Australian Poultry Standards - 1st Edition include a nearly level carriage with short legs set mid way in the body. The Call should have a large head, with a high crown rising abruptly from the bill. In brief, the Call duck should be short, round and deep.
The Call is not a small version of the Mallard. The Call duck shape is distinctly different and breeders should be aware of the directive in the Australian Poultry Standard that a Call ducks type should take precedence over colour or size.
Calls are active, alert, cute and inquisitive by nature. They are ideal for limited spaces and economical to house and feed.
Calls are little birds with huge personalities.