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The most well-known ducks are the mallard duck and the domestic "white" American Pekin. Wood ducks, noted for their striking eyes and feather patterns, closely follow.
Ducks as characters
Disney's Donald Duck could possibly be the best known duck character. Indeed, Carl Barks' influence can be seen on the design of just about any duck character created after 1934. Donald Duck received a revival in the Disney Television Animation production Quack Pack, pairing him with his nephews (Huey, Dewey and Louie), as well as his sweetheart Daisy. He can also be spotted as Mickey Mouse's second-banana in the Saturday morning series House of Mouse, currently being re-run on the Toon Disney cable network.
Another well-known Disney duck character is Darkwing Duck, created in 1991 and based on a slightly different character model.
Hanna-Barbera's productions included a few duck characters, such as Yakky Doodle. Yakky made his debut in an episode of Augie Doggie & Doggie Daddy (one of the back segments of Quick Draw McGraw's show) that aired early in 1960. When, on January 30, 1961, Yogi Bear got his own show, Yakky had a segment on it.
Yakky's main antagonist was Fibber Fox, voiced by Daws Butler (Huckleberry Hound, Cap'n Crunch). Butler was also the voice of Alfy Gator, a second-string villain in Yakky's series. As a plausible way to keep Yakky from getting eaten every time he appeared, they gave him a pal and protector, Chopper, a friendly but formidable bulldog, voiced by Vance Colvig (son of Pinto "Goofy" Colvig).
Yakky wasn't a superstar, but got big enough to support a little merchandising, including a oneshot comic book from Gold Key, which came out in 1962. That same year, the Yogi Bear show went out of production, after 32 episodes, and went into endless reruns. After that, Yakky's fate was that of most Hanna-Barbera characters — appearances now and then on ensemble shows like Scooby's All-Star Laff-a-Lympics, just to keep his trademark from lapsing.
Yakky is seldom seen anymore, except in reruns. But he's still well known. Jimmy Weldon, now a motivational speaker, still carries Webster Webfoot around for his speaking engagements, and still does the Yakky Doodle voice as part of the act.
Harvey Comics and cartoons also had Baby Huey, the vitamin-enhanced baby duck taller than his own mother.
Warner Brothers' Tex Avery introduced Daffy Duck to audiences in 1937, co-starring with Porky Pig in Porky's Duck Hunt. Over the next ten years, Daffy morphed in to the ill-tempered, yet strangely loveable fowl theatre audiences came to know.
Chuck Jones brought a new era of Daffy to viewers during the period of 1954-57 (known as "The Greedy Bastard Years"), making greed and stardom Daffy's main objectives. This was also the time period Daffy was first paired with Bugs Bunny, beginning a love/hate relationship that continues today in new merchandise, television appearances and movies (see Looney Tunes: Back In Action, 2003 theatrical release).
1964-67 saw Warner Brothers' animation department fizzle out, becoming DePatie-Freleng Enterprises (as in David H. DePatie and Friz Freleng). Daffy was paired with the unlikely Speedy Gonzales. The cartoons, surprisingly, has amazing popularity in the Southwest.
The few duck characters in the furry fandom tend to borrow from all aspects of the famous fowl listed above, however a direct comparison to any specific artist/writer (Barks, Clampett, Hanna-Barbera) would be unfair not only to the furry fandom artist, but also to the artist being compared to.