Why is Daffy Duck black?

Most ducks in America are either mallard or white. There is an “American black duck” but it’s actually brown in practice. What justification is there for a duck to be solid black? If they wanted a black waterfowl, why not call him Daffy Loon instead?

it’s so donald duck could mutter racial slurs under his breath.

Yeah, I’m sure it was to make him as distinct from Donald as possible.

Mickey Mouse is black, but American mice aren’t. But once Mickey went black no other cartoon mouse could.

He used to be white.

But now he’s covered with years of accumulated gunpowder burns.


Lady GaGa told me he was born that way.


I don’t think this is at all right
If you look at early animation, they dealt in very simple shapes and colors*. There were a LOT of cartoon animals made of ball-and-stick figures in bold black and white, with no shades of gray. There were a lot of pre-Mickey black and white mice, a lot of them in Desney’s own cartoons – loook at the whole “Alice” series. But they didn’t have a "lock on that desig n or coloration. Mickey’s predecessor, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, looked awfully Mickey-like, only with longer ears.
For that matter, post-Mickey we had Warner Brothers’ Foxy, who looks so much like Mickey that you could plausible argue plagiarism. Mickey certainly didn’t stop him:

If it weren’t for the points on his ears and the furry tail, you’d think it was Mickey. I certainly did, as a little kid. (By the way, I’m amazed that Who Framed Roger Rabbit used this song as the intro to ToonTown. I always thought they were tweaking Warner Brothers with that choice)
So Daffy is black, I think, because a lot of early cartoon characters were. Daffy himself doesn’t date back to that early era, although other barnyard animals – which those Termite Terrace animators had drawn earlier – did. For some reason, his coloring stuck and became iconic.

  • Not invariably. Even some of Winsor McCay’s cartoons, after the earliest ones, had shades of gray. As did his imitators, like the Bray-made “fake” Gertie cartoon. But I suspect simple figures in stark black and white survived because they could stand up to repeated copying and print degradation, while subtle grays in those early days quickly deteriorated into unwatchableness.

Foxy/Mickey wasn’t the only Disney/Warner close match. Have a look at Goofy (The Goof)/Goopy Gear sometime

The ring around his neck suggests that Daffy is a mallard. He was originally rendered in B&W and never colorized.


I’ve always thought that both the neck ring and the tuft on top of his head indicated that Daffy was a merganser.

Daffy dates to 1937, which is three years after WB started making some cartoons in color, but seven years before they would all routinely be.

You may be right.

I always thought he was a Coot, but upon examination they don’t have neck rings, but have white faces instead.

I still vote Coot, since it’s the only black waterfowl with which I’m readily familiar.

I came in to say Coot, too. We’ve got them all over the place here.

You’re reading too much into a one-line joke.

The semi-official Donald Duck Family Tree shows that Grandma Duck was a Coot before marriage. The Coots married Grebes and Gooses in addition to Ducks. Don’t tell Sampiro about the back-country farm stereotyping. :eek:

Oh come now, his tenor voice leaves Mickey’s tinny squeal in the dust, and Foxy’s girlfriend makes Minnie look like a two-bit floozy. For that matter, the Depression-era hobo dogs sing pretty well too.

Daffy’s first cartoon was black and white. Black is better than gray.

Probably the fact that some ducks are solid black.

Black duck photo.

Black duck video.

Who says they wanted a black waterfowl of any old kind? Maybe they did, indeed, want a black DUCK. Among other things, there’s that nice alliteration with “Daffy.”

Recall that the theme of Daffy’s first film, and several succeeding, was duck hunting. They wanted a duck.

That was a joke? Looked serious to me.