Ancona Duck Colors

Black

The most routinely-seen color in the breed and the most striking!  Black is dominant to all other colors. Sometimes, Pencilling will occur on the chest. It is advisable to breed away from this tendency. This is the color being most worked on and perfected by those working to get Anconas recognized by the American Poultry Association.

Chocolate

The second most common color which is recessive to black. This color is sex-linked. Meaning if you mate:

Chocolate Drake X Black Hen : 50% Black (all males carrying Chocolate); 50% Chocolate (all females)

Black Drake X Chocolate Hen: 100% Black – but only males will carry the Chocolate gene

If you are in need of sexing offspring as soon as they hatch, breeding a chocolate drake to a black hen will be your best option.

Lavender

Lavender is a deep purple-grey color that fades before molting and with age.  Genetically, these birds are a combination of the Chocolate gene and one Blue gene. Sometimes the Chocolate gene can bleed through, producing isolated Chocolate feathers scattered in the Lavender ones.

Lilac

Similar to Lavender, but distinctly lighter when young. This color is the result of the Chocolate gene and Two Blue genes. Another way to think of it: Silver with Chocolate. Easily confused with Lavender. Breeding trials, a skilled eye, or both may be needed to differentiate.

Blue

Blue is incompletely dominant (one copy of the gene gives you blue, two gives you silver).  The genetics act the same as Black/Blue/Splash in chickens. Especially well marked Blues will develop a red/brown rust on their chests (even blending into their shoulders and belly), this is NOT a fault as it is in other breeds. Like Lavender  & Lilac, Blue can have “bleed through” from the black gene, resulting in black feathers scattered on Blue feathers.

Silver

Silver is still the rarest color. It is a double recessive; a dilute of blue. Same as “splash” in chickens. Visually, they are a very light grey which is typically scattered around haphazardly. They have more of a blue undertone, whereas the lavender/lilac has a brown undertone. 

Tricolor

Tricolor is the combination of any two colors and white.  Because Ancona’s were developed using Runners, any color found in Runners will be expressed in Anconas. Typically, the Extended Black gene hides most of the colors. When you remove the Extended Black gene (as happens 25% of the time when breeding two very well marked, (ie. heterozygous) birds together), the underlying genes will be visible.
*The following aren’t colors, just results of additional genes acting on colors or the whole bird. *

 “Pencilling”
This occasionally occurs in black ducks. It is to be avoided when possible.
“Rust”
This isn’t a color, it’s a characteristic of the pattern. Seen in black, chocolate, and blue, it will take on different appearances in each color. As stated above, it’s not a fault.
Rockin' H Farm Ancona Rusting
Crested
Though not a color or pattern, it’s a fault that can occur in any Mallard-derivative and the breeder needs to be aware. This is a big enough fault to make the bird “pet quality”. Not considered “breed standard”. More information on “cresting” can be found here:
Beetle-Green Sheen
The best marked black and chocolate birds will have a “beetle green” sheen on their feathers. These are the “keeper” birds. The most common place to see this sheen in action will be the Cayuga or Black East Indies duck. Both are known for this beautiful coloring. Pictured is a Black feather showing the sheen.
Information and photos compliments of Worth It Farms
Farm