RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1862. Penguin ducks. Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener 3 (30 December): 797.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed and edited by John van Wyhe 2003-8, 10.2022. RN3

NOTE: See record in the Freeman Bibliographical Database, enter its Identifier here.

[page] 797


IF any of your readers have kept Penguin Ducks, and will have the kindness to observe one little point, and communicate the result, I should be greatly obliged. On examining the skeleton, I find that certain bones of the leg are longer than in the other breeds. I formerly kept these birds alive, and as far as I dare trust my memory, they could run considerably faster than other Ducks. Is this the case? It would, perhaps, be a good way to test their running powers to call the two kinds, when hungry, from a distance to their food, and see which arrived first.—CHARLES DARWIN, Down, Bromley, Kent.

1 Indian Runner Duck, a breed of domestic duck with a striking upright posture, discussed in Variation 1: 281-6. See Correspondence vol. 10, pp. 628-9. Darwin wrote to W. B. Tegetmeier (28 [December 1862]) requesting that he find out, perhaps by inserting a query in The Field "which I do not take in" to this effect. Tegetmeier communicated a query to The Field which was published on 3 January 1862 (as noted in Correspondence vol. 10, p. 637). Tegetmeier also submitted a query published in The Field (10 January 1863), p. 9: "My friend Mr Darwin has written to me to ascertain their rate of speed when running as compared with others. As I have never kept this particular variety, I shall be most obliged by anyone who can give me precise information on this point."

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Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

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