Duck Size and Height Guide: Just How Tall Are They?

Ducks are like most other animals out here, in that the many different breeds and species have wildly different physical characteristics: color, build, weight, and of course, height.

ducks leaving the pond
a few ducks leaving the pond

But just looking at different species of birds and narrowing it down further to poultry like chickens and geese, ducks are surprisingly variable in their overall size and height. Enough so that it can make quite a difference in your experience keeping them depending on the breed that you choose!

For this reason, it’s in your best interest to know exactly what you’re getting into with any given breed. Some are a lot taller than others. I’m here to help with a guide that will help you understand just how big these birds can be, so keep reading.

At A Glance

BreedHeightAverage Weight
Call8 – 9 inches / 21 cm1 lb. / 500 grams
Pekin20 inches / 51 cm8.5 lbs / 3.8 kg
Mallard24 inches / 61 cm2.6 lbs. / 1.2 kg
Cayuga18 inches / 45 cm7.5 lbs / 3.4 kg
Indian Runner28 – 32 inches4.4 lbs. / 2 kg

What is the Average Height of a Duck?

The average height of a duck is between 19 and 25 inches, looking at the totality of domestic and wild breeds. Note that this isn’t the length of their body, bill to tail, but the measurement taken from the bottom of their feet to the crown of their head when they are standing and at rest.

Ducks can appear significantly shorter when sitting down on land or on the surface of the water, and far shorter still if they tuck their neck down to protect their head when they’re resting or feel nippy.

How Tall Can They Get?

Ducks can get quite tall. Surprisingly tall, in fact! A few ducks can reach about 3 feet in height, though this is pretty uncommon.

White Call Duck (miniature) Hen
White Call Duck (miniature) Hen

What’s the Shortest Duck Breed?

The shortest duck to be found is the Call duck. This tiny, very old heritage breed was originally bred to be used as a living decoy, one that would literally call in wild ducks for hunters to shoot, and so they were bred to be tiny and easily portable, and controllable.

On average, an adult Call duck will stand only 8 or 9 inches tall (around 21 centimeters), and quite a few are even shorter than that. Well under a foot! They are truly tiny when they are ducklings, measuring just a couple of inches tall each.

What is the Tallest Duck Breed?

The tallest known duck breed is the Indian Runner, a domestic breed that’s instantly recognizable for its upright body plan that makes it look a little bit like a penguin. These birds are also known for, quite literally, running instead of waddling. They are very speedy!

The average height of an Indian Runner drake is between 28 and 32 inches, but exceptional individuals are known to reach a full three feet tall on occasion. That’s the height of a small child!

Indian runner and Pekin ducks
an Indian runner and four Pekin ducks

Are Drakes or Hens Taller on Average?

Typically, expect drakes to be taller than hens of the same species. This is because most duck breeds show a certain amount of sexual dimorphism, with males being larger, bulkier, heavier, and, of course, taller.

However, this tendency is more marked in some breeds and species than others, with some, like Muscovies, showing a considerable difference in size between the sexes. Others, like Cayugas and Black East Indies, tend to be far less marked.

Of course, if you compare the size of males and females between breeds, then that rule goes out the window. A female Pekin will still absolutely tower over a male Mallard, for instance!

Is There a Link Between the Height and Weight of a Duck?

Yes, generally. As a rule, your larger, taller breeds tend to weigh more. However, there are several exceptions you should know about. Some exceptionally tall ducks happen to be lean for their size, like the aforementioned Indian Runners.

Some wild breeds also have necks that are quite long and can contribute to an inflated height statistic out of proportion with their overall build and weight. In short, it’s more or less dependent on the specifics of the breed rather than any arbitrary measurement of weight or body mass.

duck sizes pin

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