indian_runner_duckIndian Runner Duck

Anas platyrhynchos indian runner

Description

The Indian Runner is an easily identifiable breed of domestic duck. It has a long cylindrical body. Its legs are set far back on its body and as a result this duck stands nearly upright. There are 9 color varieties. The most common is the fawn and white variety, but other colors can include black, blue, gray, and pure white. Cosley Zoo exhibits black Indian Runners.

Size

Indian Runners weigh 4 to 4.5 pounds. They have very small wings and, as a result, are unable to fly.

Adaptations

  • One reason ducks are able to stay afloat in the water is because of air sacs inside their bodies that increase their buoyancy.
  • Ducks’ feathers trap air in between them, which is another adaptation that helps them to float. Their feathers are also covered with a waterproof substance that keeps the ducks warm and dry.
  • Ducks’ webbed feet allow them to maneuver easily in the water.
  • Ducks do not have teeth, but they do have bumpy edges on their bills that help them to filter food out of the water. Food is then swallowed and ground up in the gizzard, a part of the stomach that contains small rocks for breaking down food.
  • Because the Indian Runner has an upright posture, it is able to run instead of waddling as most ducks do.

Diet

The ducks at Cosley Zoo are fed a commercially prepared waterfowl diet.

Reproduction

Female Indian Runners are prolific egg layers and can produce as many as 300 eggs per year. However, they do not often sit on their eggs to incubate them. People who raise Indian Runners typically use artificial incubators or place the eggs under another duck if they want them to hatch.

Shelter and Space Needs

Domestic ducks require easy access to fresh water for drinking and swimming. They also require a fence that keeps predators out and shelter from extreme weather conditions.

Life Expectancy

Uncertain for this breed. In general, ducks live an average of 2 years in the wild and can live over 10 years in captivity.

Relationship With Man

Indian Runners have been bred for their ability to lay eggs. In addition, they can be a source of meat and feathers. The Indian Runner is easy to handle and is often kept as a pet. These ducks are useful in gardens because they eat insects and slugs and provide natural fertilizer.

Fun Facts

  • The Indian Runner has been nicknamed the “Bowling Pin Duck” due to its unusual posture.
  • The Indian Runner, like many other domestic ducks, is descended from the wild Mallard duck.
  • There is some evidence that Indian Runners have existed for over 2000 years. Carvings in Javan temples appear to depict these ducks with their characteristic upright stance.
  • The water in the Cosley Zoo duck pond often looks green, but that’s not because it’s dirty! The green dye that we put in there helps to block sunlight, which keeps algae from taking over the pond.