Crested Ducks Have Funny "Hair"

12/21/2010

Some domestic birds have interesting headgear.  Chickens have combs and turkeys have snoods and wattles, but most ducks simply have smooth feathers on their heads (albeit sometimes brightly colored feathers). 

Not crested ducks. Not to be confused with the wild crested duck of South America, this fancily-quoiffed duck is descended from the domestic mallard and sports a pouf of feathers growing out of back of its head.  This crest is actually caused by a genetic mutation that duck breeders have selected for.  This mutation causes a duck to be born with a gap in its skull, which is filled with a growth of fatty tissue.  It's from this growth that the pouf of feathers sprouts.

Crested ducks come in a variety of breeds and colors and every once in a while, one comes out looking like Marilyn Monroe!  Enjoy the photos and video of these odd-looking ducks below.

Crested Duck 1
Crested Duck 3
Crested Duck 2
Crested Duck 4

VIDEO: Watch some cute baby ducklings, some of which are already showing signs of being crested.

 

Crested duck photos by Markmans, angelsk, unnormalized, and Svadilfari, all via Flickr Creative Commons.


David Mizejewski is a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation. His goal is to inspire others to appreciate the wonders of nature. Meet David >
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