Everything You Should Know About Ducks

duck huntingThe duck doesn’t get enough credit.  This amazing animal is a very complex creature with some impressive features and abilities.

Since the dawn of time, man has maintained his relationship with the duck. We like to play with them as kids. We like to watch them. We like to hunt them.. and we like to eat them.

Rather you’re looking to make a duck your next meal or heading down to the local park to feed them with the kids, here’s some duck stats you’ll be able to amaze your friends with. Some might call it “useless duck trivia” but we prefer to think of ourselves as “Anatidae Educated”.

Kinds of Ducks

There are two main types of ducks; dabblers and divers.

dabblersDabblers feed by skimming the water or up-ending themselves to reach food just below the surface.

Dabblers have legs that are more centrally located, which allows them greater mobility while feeding on land.

Dabblers sit high in the water.

diversDivers go deeper under water.

Diving ducks have legs that are set far to the back of the body, which causes them to waddle on land, but helps them swim faster and with more control.

Diving ducks sit much lower in the water than dabblers.  Divers are able to submerge easily to go after under-water prey.

Duck FAQs

bulletA duck’s bill is generally flat and made of a soft, fibrous protein known as keratin. By comparison, human hair is 95% keratin. Levels of amino acids in the keratin determine how flexible it is.

bulletVery few ducks actually quack. The female mallard makes the famous quacking sound usually associated with ducks.

bulletDucks can store extra food in their esophagi. Mallards have been known to store nearly a quarter of a pound of grain in their esophagi.

bulletHormone levels can change feet color in ducks. During courtship, increased hormones can cause feet to turn orange or bright red.

bulletDucks open the webbing on their feet during flight to create extra drag. To fly faster, they close the webbing to limit air resistance.

bulletWhen paddling, ducks achieve a considerable amount of force by pushing their webbed feet not only backwards but downwards in the water.

bulletDucks waterproof their feathers by coating them with a waxy ointment that’s secreted from a gland at the base of the tail.

bulletDuck wings are short and pointed and supported by strong muscles. In order to stay airborne, ducks must flap their wings in rapid succession.

bulletWhile female ducks tend to have non-descript, brown feathers, male ducks have far more colorful plumage. It’s one of the ways males attract mates. The iridescent hues come from tiny crystals embedded in their feathers.

Ducky Tidbits

arrowA group of ducks is referred to as a raft, team, badelynge, bunch, brace, flock or paddling. A group of ducklings, still being looked after, is called a brood.

arrowWhen most birds molt, they replace flight feathers one at a time. Ducks, however, drop all their flight feathers at once, leaving them temporarily grounded.

arrowDucks are precocial, meaning ducklings are able to feed themselves shortly after hatching. Ducks are also omnivores. They feed on aquatic vegetation, as well as small insects, crustaceans and some fish.

arrowDucks fly in v-shaped patterns to reduce headwind for birds flying behind the leader. Migrating ducks follow the same flight plan they’ve used for centuries.

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  • Sandra

    Just wanted to say, I loved this post. It was funny. Keep on posting!