Bantam ducks are now given a separate category from Call Ducks since the Calls are so numerous, and now have nine standard colours. Domestic waterfowl in the Bantam category are either miniatures or bantams. The Miniature Appleyard is 1/3 the size of the Large Silver Appleyard. Bantam weights like the Silver Bantam duck are strictly 1/4 the size of larger strains. The oldest breed of Bantam Duck is the Black East Indian - which has nothing to do with the East Indies.
Black East Indian
The name was perhaps coined to sell the bird; the breed was actually developed in the USA and became an early import and favourite in the UK. Good specimens are real eye-catchers. Paul Ives (1947) comments 'In 1943 the committee of three professional artists invited to select the most beautiful bird in the Boston Poultry Show, from a purely artistic standpoint . . . selected a Black East Indian drake as the most beautiful bird among 5000 specimens of all varieties of land and waterfowl.'
The other breeds of Bantam ducks are relatively recent. The Silver Bantam was developed by Reginald Appleyard. It originated as a cross between a small Khaki Campbell and a Call duck and was standardized in 1982, though Appleyard unveiled it in 1950. It looks rather like the Abacot ranger in colour.
The Silver Appleyard Miniature was developed by Tom Bartlett in the 1980s. It is a replica of the large Silver Appleyard duck, only 1/3 the size. In the rush for this popular breed, the Bantam tended to get neglected, but seems to be making a comeback at present.
The Crested Miniature is also a late twentieth century addition. Its first show category was in the British Waterfowl Association National Show at Malvern in 1994, and it was standardized in 1997.
Both Calls and Miniatures have become very popular as pet ducks in the last 30 years. They are cheap to keep and are ideal garden pets. Their popularity probably rose after the banning of wildfowl, such as mandarins and Carolinas, in exhibition pens in the UK.