The Cayuga breed is thought to have been developed from the wild Black Duck breed in the region of Lake Cayuga in New York. This makes it one of the few duck breeds originating in the United States. Prior to the arrival of the Pekin breed, they were the bird of choice for meat production in the Northeast. Once the Pekin arrived with its white feathers and cleaner appearing carcass, the Cayuga quickly lost its appeal. They remain a very hardy duck and many of their eggs have varying degrees of gray in the shell color. On rare occasions they will lay a pure black egg.
Their feather color is very similar to the Black East Indie but records indicate the Cayuga was developed before the Black East Indie. Both have a very brilliant "beetle" green sheen to their feathers. This is especially evident on the head of the male. As they age, however, Cayuga become almost all white after several years. This changing of colors occurs much quicker in females than males. In addition, their black legs turn more orangish in color as they age.