Pekin Duck (Anas Platyrhynchos
) is a large and white duck
, with orange
feet and bill
Pekin Ducks have been selectively bred in China around a thousand years ago. They gain weight very quickly (having raised a few, I can personally attest to that) and for that exact reason are mostly used for consumption.
If you can't picture a Pekin Duck, think "Donald Duck". They're also given to small children during easter in some countries (unfortunately, almost always to meet a horrible death).
Breeding Pekins can be tricky: The hens (adult females) are extremelly bad setters. They normally do not set until the ducklings hatch. In most cases, an artificial hatchery is necessary.
It's very hard to distinguish the sex of the ducklings. They look exactly alike (in fact, even grown up Pekins look exactly the same). Hens and Drakes (the adult male) can be distinguished by their voice (the male produces a "muted" quack and the female a very loud quack) and (most of the time, but not all the time) by a small feather that protrudes up from the male's tail.
Pekin Females are extremely noisy! Some of them can wake you up in the morning with their "quacks" from some 60 feet (20m) away. They also have a funny taunt they use to challenge males when they feel threatened in some way: They turn their heads 45 degrees and walk sideways shaking the head in the direction of the "chosen" male, producing a staccato sounding noise. It's supposed to mean something like "Hey, DO SOMETHING!" in duck language . It's hard to describe but extremely fun to watch.
Pekins (contrary to most other ducks) cannot fly. They have heavy bodies and short wings. At early age, they don't know about this limitation and keep trying to do it anyway (specially during windy days). This tends to produce some very funny displays that normally end with a duck hitting a wall, falling unprepared in a lake or hitting another duck (which sometimes starts a fight).
It's said that Pekin Ducks taste very good. I personally cannot attest to that, since I see them as pets, not as poultry.
Note: Do not confuse Pekin Duck with Peking Duck. The latter is a dish, normally made with Pekin Ducks.
Update:: You can also see a Pekin Duck in the AFLAC commercials.