Muscovy color & pattern mapping - calling all scobie breeders for input

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by EdenCamp, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. EdenCamp

    EdenCamp Chillin' With My Peeps

    The following is the only genetic mapping for scobies I've been able to locate. It's great as far as it goes (color) but it's not complete with mapping for patterning - what is dominant, recessive, incomplete dominant or sex linked. In particular I'm trying to puzzle out the genetics to produce calico scobies - white background with patches/splashes of both colors from the black and chocolate color palates. Breed sources do list this as a color and I've been assured from these sources directly that they have been observed occurring in FL. Other reputable scobie sources say they have never heard of such a thing.

    ME:Muscovy Ducks according to your website: Many other quite exotic colors have occurred - mostly in domesticated breeds, such as blue, blue and white, chocolate, chocolate and white, lavender and calico.

    S: suppose it depends on how you define “calico” … The technical definition is mottled colored, with a white base color with patches of other colors, such as black, brown, reddish / rusty or yellow/orange. Living in Florida, where Muscovies are quite common, I have seen quite a few muscovies that fit into that category …

    Sibylle – All About Birds


    while Barry Koffler responds:
    [email protected] Barry Koffler mid-Hudson Valley, New Yorkthe FeatherSite at

    Well, I've never seen a Calico Muscovy, for whatever that means

    So, calling all breeders for your observations, pictures and knowledge in an effort to produce a more comprehensive map of what's what!

    SHARE what you know or have observed! I'll table findings.

    credited source of genetic table

    Aside from white, Muscovy come in two base colors, chocolate & black. All other varieties are derived
    from these colors.

    Black Chocolate
    Blue Lilac (Blue-Fawn)
    Silver Buff
    Self-Blue Cream
    Dark Ripple Chocolate Ripple

    Aside from the varieties noted above, Muscovy also come in 'patterns'. Patterns include laced, self, ripple,
    & barred. The self pattern is a feather that is solid in color w/out lacing present. Lacing is where the
    feather's outer edge possesses a darker tint than the rest of the feather. Barring is a pattern found most
    notably in juvenile birds. As barred birds undergo their first molt, the majority of the barred feathers are
    replaced by solid feathers with slightly barred feathers remaining only along the belly, flank, & back of
    the bird. Rippled birds remain rippled throughout life.

    The final gene worth noting is the white head gene. Birds that possess the white head gene can be any
    color as well as pied. Young or juvenile white head birds will appear to be solid birds with a few white
    feathers located on the head/neck. With each subsequent molt, the white will increase until the bird's
    entire head is mainly white.
  2. ian4379

    ian4379 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 8, 2011
    try this, its a muscovy duck calculator.(below) never seen or heard of calico. the closest to what your describing is pied. you dont get multi-coloured muscovy, the best you could hope for is sometimes a recessive colour will come out a bit through another, eg: i have blue ducks split for bronze, sometimes you will get a bronze tint to the blue feathers in the chest.;,C;RP;Lavender;Pearl-grey;Silver lavender;
  3. EdenCamp

    EdenCamp Chillin' With My Peeps

    HEY THANKS! I had that link but wasn't able to navigate in it to find for muscovy - I'll check it out!

    In muscovies, the genes involved are :

    wild type /white winged black
    atipico (recessive) a/A+
    barring (recessive) b/B+
    brown rippled (recessive) br/Br+
    chocolate (sex linked recessive) ch/Ch+
    blue (incompletely dominant) N / n+
    lavender (recessive) l / L+
    sepia / bronze (recessive) f / F+
    self white (incompletely dominant) P / p+
    pied (recessive) d / D+
    canizie / white head (dominant) C / c+

    Think you're exacly right that a pied blue fawn would be the calico combo I'm searching for.
    Blue fawn comes about with blue and brown genes in the mix, added in with the white piebald for what we called a dilute calico.
    Not seing laced pattern listed? Or would that be ripple? Would there by chance be a splash also?
  4. ian4379

    ian4379 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 8, 2011
    blue fawn is blue and chocolate together, it really is its own colour, you wont get two different colours on the bird.. there is no lacing gene in muscovy. i cant help you with the rippling gene, we dont have it in australia so you'll have to get help from someone who has it.

    in regards to the pied birds, there's an infinite amount of ways in which the white gene comes through, so to delibrately breed what your after would be a fluke. it can be expressed from as little as a few flecks on the chest to the entire bird being white with a small black cap on the head. so if you bred enough birds you would eventually get the look your after, however if you then bred that one, the outcome could be entirely different. i hope that makes sense and helps[​IMG]
  5. ian4379

    ian4379 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 8, 2011
    i just came across you post in another thread, the ducks are on this post that you found are what i was trying to describe. thats as close as you'll get and its just "pied", the multi-colouring there could be due to fading in older feathers. maybe the references youve come across for calico in muscovy are just people using the term loosely to the describe pied. you'll get the same with people calling silvers, fumes and blues "lavenders". or bronzes and chocolates "browns"
  6. EdenCamp

    EdenCamp Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've asked the FL lady from one of the poultry sites that listed calico's to send me pictures.
    From discussion with her sure sound like calico calico that she herself has seen there.
    I used to breed & show persian cats at one point in time pretty seriously and loved calico's - still do with the farm cats.
    Calicos and tortoisehells are female only in cats.
    So I know how to work the pied gene to get more or less white in and patterning tends to follow the parents on the color placement from those.

    I could be influence from previous hybredizing particular to her area maybe?

    Have to double check where the BYC poster that thought she had a calico was from or where she obtained hers from.

    If there are such out there allready then it's a matter of securing some for a base. If no such critter then I have a long term project to play with!
  7. razvanM

    razvanM Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 14, 2012
  8. dougbaja

    dougbaja New Egg

    Apr 10, 2010
    WHOA! BACK UP EdenCamp! First get Holderread's book (, its head and shoulders above any other muscovy genetics source I know of (although Harrell Sellers used to have a good online summary and Kippenjungle is quite nice as far as it goes). I had some quibbles with symbol usage and non-academic terms but it was very good. The Muscovy Central table is influenced by people who A) are using different names for some gene combinations and B) don't understand genetics as well as they might.

    Now about this calico, I would agree that this is probably a bird showing blue, chocolate, and one white gene plumage. Hollander (published the most papers on Muscovy genetics) had a list in which he termed a blue and chocolate bird a "blue fawn" probably in analogy to the blue fawn in mallards (in mallards its a 3 mutant gene combo). The birds I've seen tend to look more choc on the head and more blue on the tail but all colors are not as deep as a blue or a choc bird. One white gene seems to give a haphazard amount and spacing of white in the adult (you will come back to read this sentence again). Added to this the bleaching of pigment over a year before molting and variability of young birds plumage as they mature yields some rather "calico" looking individuals. That's my vote.

    Complications: Hollander told me he'd never seen a duclair pied muscovy in his life (!!). This implies all those partially white birds you see in the USA ARE NOT DUCLAIR PIED! They have one white gene. Two white genes yields an all white bird (sometimes with a colored crown). Yet the common English definition of the word "pied" as a partially white bird is correct. So we have a problem of language here. The birds are pied in being partially white. But they do not have the Duclair Pied gene! Get it? Now I have seen some very nice pictures of "Pied" birds from England. So I have to imagine that the Duclair Pied gene (originally published in Italy IIRC) perhaps never made it across the Atlantic just as the Bronze gene is still limited to Australia (is it?). The whole question of white in muscovies is not settled. Variable expressivity and reduced penetrance possibilities aside! Perhaps those English pied birds aren't really Duclair pied either. Perhaps there are other genes that influence how one white gene would look. Has anyone ever bred those birds to a wildtype and then reproduced wildtype in the F2 etc?

    I keep seeing references to lacing/scalloping or odd barring and when I see a photo invariably it is neither, it is instead the first permanent feathers of young birds with wildtype backgrounds (A+_) where the first few millimeters or so of the feather have no deep pigmentation (as opposed to a bird with a dusky=atipico (aa) background which has deep pigmentation all the way to the tip of the feather). This is very apparent in the breast feathers of young birds. Place two side by side and you'll see what I mean. BTW that's why MDC lists "Dark Ripple", I was trying to get the point across that birds with atipico=dusky genes have slightly darker pigmentation in the adult.

    RazvanM, I'm going to guess that black pigmentation in the caruncles is a quantitative gene trait but who knows. So you could get it (maybe by starting with duskys) and concentrating. I have seen wild birds in Brazil with 95% black caruncles with red rosettes in a startling pattern going back from the eye at the edge of the caruncling. I've never seen that in a domestic but I've seen some domestics that get close in the amount of black. I've never seen that rosette pattern in any bird book illustration I've ever seen. It was gorgeous and completely unexpected. Many of the muscovies I saw there would fly off once you got within 200-300 feet so I could not ascertain head pigmentation on others. This was in the Pantanal, so I can't completely rule out that it was a wild/domestic hybrid. I specifically asked and ranchers told me that wild males would fly in to romance their birds. I also saw a domestic male in a tree outside a ranch. It flew onto a branch and a wildtype-appearing female flew off that branch. Well, given how cheap genome sequencing is these days we'll have lots of answers about this kind of thing in the not-so-far future.
  9. EdenCamp

    EdenCamp Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi Doug and welcome!

    What fun! I had picked up that those down under seemed to have a lock on the Bronze gene, was not aware that the US was also bereft of true Pied. I do have an appreciation for text-book genetics, not being facetious, I do. This thread is going in the direction I'd hoped which is bringing BOTH the science and practical hands-on/observations together.

    It takes time to map (and publish). No telling what project pockets may be in place that may have pulled "exceptions" or have remanant pools in existance. Darwin is alive and well, new mutations may have occured and that small percentage of fertile mule hybrids may have allowed for additions to the mix.

    Thanks for the publication recommendation!
  10. ian4379

    ian4379 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 8, 2011
    Hi doug,

    first up i'm from australia, i'm pretty sure the bronze gene is sepia. its just a different name. i've discussed the results of blue and bronze(fume) and silver and bronze(tortora) with a breeder in sweden who has sepia and from the same breedings we get the same coloured offspring.

    i was unaware that people in the u.s. used pied as a description and all birds with white in them. i personally have birds that are duclair piebald and also birds that are pied.

    Edencamp, you cant really control the amount of white you get in your birds, it just doesn't work that way, you'll get varying amounts of white. i've been breeding the white out of my birds, so if you breed two near solid birds together you'll get less white on a whole, but i'll still get the odd bird with a completely white chest and belly. i guess your best bet would be to find a pair of birds with the amount of white that you like and just keep breeding.

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