- Scientific Name: Anas platyrhynchos
- Classification: Aves
- Family: Anatidae
- Habitat: Rivers, lakes and woodland wetlands
- Diet: Omnivorous
- Weight: 1.5-3 pounds
- Size: 12-20 inches
- Speed: 88 mph
- Lifespan: 4-8 years
- Types: Over 120o
Ducks Are Excellent Divers
The word duck comes from the Old English word that means “diver”. Duck facts will tell you just how accurate this name is, because ducks love the water and dive below the surface often. The body of a duck is elongated and broad, and is perfectly streamlined for diving. Ducks also have long necks, but not nearly as long as those of their similar-in-appearance cousins, swans and geese. They have strong, scaled legs that are set far back on the body, and strong wings that are usually quite short and come to a point.
Ducks Use Something Called a Pecten to Eat
Dabbling ducks have a pecten, a comb-like structure along the edge of the beak that allows them to strain water and trap food. They can feed on water or land but when in the water, they will dive as deep as they can without being submerged in order to trap food in their beak. They eat a variety of food, including grasses, aquatic plants, fish, insects, small amphibians, worms and small molluscs. Other types of ducks, called diving ducks, have the capability to fully submerge underneath the water because they are heavier than dabbling ducks, but they do have difficulty taking off to fly.
Ducks Are Monogamous Creatures
Ducks tend to mate with only one other duck but the relationships generally only last a single year. Larger ducks might stay with the same mate for several years, however. Most ducks breed once a year during the spring and summer seasons. They will usually make a nest before breeding. After their young hatch, they will lead them to water. While mother ducks are protective, they will abandon a duckling if it is physically stuck or is sick. A ducking might also be abandoned if it hatches too late and the mother has already led its siblings to water.
Not All Ducks Quack
One of the most fascinating duck facts is that most species of ducks do not make the commonly known quacking sound. The females of most dabbling duck species make the noise. Ducks use a wide range of calls, including whistles, cooing, yodels and even grunts. Diving ducks make a “scaup” noise. Ducks will also make calls at different volume levels, with some being displaying calls and others being more subtle contact calls. A common urban legend states that a duck’s quack doesn’t echo, but this is false. The common myth wasn’t actually debunked until 2003.
Ducks Are Always on the Defense
Ducks have many predators. Ducklings are incredibly vulnerable, mostly because they are unable to fly. A duck’s ability to flee the scene of danger is one of its best defense mechanisms. Some of the duck’s predators include large fish, and even larger birds, like herons. A duck’s nest may be raided by land dwelling predators, including foxes or hawks. A duck is usually safe once it is in the air, unless it is being hunted by humans. The peregrine falcon is one example of a bird that is able to catch ducks while they are flying though.
Commercially Farmed Ducks Are Used in Many Ways
Ducks are farmed all over the world, usually for their meat and eggs. But they are also farmed for their feathers, which are commonly used in bedding and pillows. China has the largest market for duck in the world. Several different species of duck are eaten throughout the world, and duck is often considered a higher class of meat in America than chicken or turkey. It is often recommended to only purchase organic or free range duck meat because of poor farming conditions at most duck farms.
Duck Feet Are Ideally Suited to Water
Duck facts have already told us about this bird’s special beak that helps them get food in the water, but ducks also have special webbed feet that do more than just help them swim. Their feet have a complex structure of capillaries, which help to regulate blood flow and keep their feet warm, even in freezing waters. However, their webbed feet mean that they have difficulty walking on land and this is where they get their familiar waddle motion from.
Ducks Don’t Need to Go to the Dentist
Like most other types of birds, ducks don’t have teeth. Instead, they have rows of thin bristles in their mouths that help them filter nutrient particles out of the water that passes through their breaks. When a duck catch larger items of food, it swallows them whole and uses its gizzard to help digest the food. While their beak is of course mostly for catching food, they also use it to pick dirt and other types of debris out of their feathers.
Ducks Can Make Great Family Pets
Ducks facts reveal the fun idea that a pet duck can be a great addition to your family. If you have enough space for more than one duck, since they should always have a companion, and access to water, a duck might be a great option as a pet for you. They should remain inside for the first few weeks if they are ducklings, but after that a simple outdoor housing structure will work. They should always have protection from the sun, rain and snow, and from predators such as foxes. Adult ducks can survive in freezing temperatures as long as they have access to liquid water.
Ducks Love to Travel to Warmer Climes
One of the more commonly known duck facts is that the birds usually migrate. They leave for several reasons, but usually to escape harsh weather in order to be able to eat and breed. Ducks know that it is time to migrate when the fall season starts and the days become shorter. US ducks will travel to the southern states, Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico. As the days become longer and hotter in the south, the ducks will tend to head back north. If you live in the northern states and see a few ducks during the winter, don’t think that they missed the memo. Some species of ducks are able to survive just fine during the winter.
Ducks Are an Enduring Part of Popular Culture
Ducks have been a part of pop culture for many years. The two most famous fictional ducks are Disney’s Donald Duck, who was introduced in 1934, and Warner Bros.’ Daffy Duck, who was introduced in 1937. The famous story of A Christmas Carol was famously retold using Scrooge McDuck as the main character in 1983. There is also the cherished children’s story of The Ugly Duckling and the famous duck mascot of Aflac. There are also plenty of sports teams that are associated with ducks.
Duck Eyes Have Built-in Goggles
One of the more interesting duck facts concerns their amazing eyes. They have two regular eyelids, just like humans, that blink open and closed. But they also have a third eyelid that is located on the side of the eye. These close across the eyes, and act as a pair of goggles, allowing the bird to keep its eyes open without getting water in them. This comes in handy when they have to dive underneath the surface of the water to find food.
Ducks Often Imitate Their Companions
It is said that ducks are very social animals and should not be kept alone. If a duck does not have any other ducks nearby, it will actually take on the persona of who it is with. For example, if a human raises a duck alone, the duck will start to believe that it is human, and will imitate its owner. There are also stories of other animals raising ducklings that have been abandoned. There are documented tales of cats nursing ducklings, and, as the ducks grow, the two creatures living in harmony as members of the same family rather than becoming enemies!
The Oldest Duck on Record Lived to the Age of 20
According to the Guinness Book Of World Records, the oldest duck was named Desi Duck and lived in Maidenhead, England. She was a mallard duck and lived to be 20 years, 3 months and 16 days old. She died in August of 2002 and was owned by Ingrid Raphael. Most ducks live for 4 to 8 years in the wild. If they don’t die from old age, they are usually killed by predators, hunters or by loss of habitat and dangers from pollution, like plastic bags and rings.
Ducks Can’t Fly for Several Weeks of The Year
Mallard ducks, along with several other species, shed all of their flight feathers at the end of the breeding season, according to duck facts. This leaves them unable to fly for up to a full month. However, Mother Nature helps them conceal this fact by having their body feathers molt into a concealing eclipse-like plumage that can make it hard for predators to spot them. When they are able to fly, ducks can fly at surprising speeds. Mallards can fly at up to 55 miles per hour, while other species can hit top speeds of 88 miles per hour.
Ducks Can Sleep With One Eye Open
One of the more fascinating duck facts is that they are able to literally sleep with one eye open! Ducks usually sleep side by side in a long row, and scientists have found that the ducks at the end of the row will actually sleep with one eye open, specifically the one that is facing away from the row. They are able to control which side of their brain stays awake, letting them rest but also keep an eye out for predators and other dangers.
Duck Facts – Facts about Ducks Summary
Duck facts reveal plenty of information about these common and popular birds. Learn about their habitat, reproduction traits and what they eat. Learn how they protect themselves from danger, what ducks provide us with, and how a duck can make a great pet and become a valuable addition to your family.