30 Interesting Facts About Ducks

  1. Ducks are among the birds known as waterfowls. Its closest relatives are geese and swans.
  2. Ducks are smaller than both geese and swans. They have shorter wings and necks and flatter beaks than their closest relatives.
  3. There are several types of ducks according to their habitat and feeding preferences. The most common ones are dabbling ducks, diving ducks, sea ducks, perching ducks, and mergansers.
  4. Ducks are present on every continent except Antarctica. The yellow-billed pintail is the only duck species occasionally seen in coastal Antarctica. (Source)
  5. Ducks are one of a few animals with abstract intelligence. A study has proved that mallard ducklings can understand the abstract relationship between different shapes and colors. In contrast to other intelligent animals, they can achieve this quality without training. (Source)
  6. Ducks can sleep with one eye and half brain open. Unlike other animals with this feature, they have complete control and only remain semi-alert when sleeping in a dangerous environment. (Source)
  7. Some duck species can fly at high altitudes. The ruddy shelduck is the highest-flying duck that can reach up to 22,000 ft. (6,800 m) during its flight. It is eight times higher than Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest structure in Dubai. It is also the 2nd highest flight among waterfowls after the bar-headed goose. (Source)
  8. The red-breasted merganser is the fastest duck and one of the fastest birds. It can achieve a flying speed of 100 mph.
  9. Like other waterfowls, ducks cannot fly when molting. This process takes a month, during which they remain in or close to the water. (Source)
  10. Drakes (male ducks) molt twice a year. They have more colorful features compared to female ducks. 
    A male Mandarin duck floating on the water
    Male ducks have colorful features and they molt twice a year

  11. Ducks are omnivores that eat insects, worms, small amphibians, crayfish, seeds, and pondweed. Bread, chips, cereals, and sweets are not healthy foods for ducks. (Source)
  12. The quack is the most famous duck sound, usually belonging to the female mallard. However, ducks produce other sounds also, including whistles, grunts, coos, etc. They can also communicate visually.
  13. It is a myth that duck quacks do not echo. Research has proved that quack produces an echo in favorable conditions. (Source)
  14. Latest research has refuted the generally accepted theory that domestic ducks originated from present-day mallards or Chinese spot-billed ducks. Instead, they are descendants of a ghost wild duck. (Source)
  15. Ducks face several predators in the sea, on land, and in the air. Their common predators are crocodiles, hawks, peregrine falcons, herons, snakes, raccoons, opossum, etc.
  16. Humans have domesticated ducks for thousands of years for their meat, eggs, and feathers. Their down-feathers provide the raw material for making warm jackets and bedding.
  17. Ducks have several features that help them in floating on water. The preen gland at the base of the duck’s tail produces oil, which makes their feathers waterproof. They have internal air sacs, and their feathers trap air for better swimming. Their hollow bones also make floating and swimming easier. (Source)
  18. A town in Arkansas (USA) is known as the duck capital of the world. More than 1 million ducks gather here due to numerous ponds and bayous. Duck hunting provides millions of dollars to the state annually. (Source)
  19. A white Pekin duck laid the heaviest egg of any duck in 1999 in Ireland. The weight of this egg was 227 g, which also contained an unusual second egg. (Source)
  20. Ducks are social animals that like the company of other ducks. This social behavior is present in both wild and domestic ducks.
  21. The design of ducks’ feet is favorable for swimming. It assists them in pushing more water and reduces water friction. These feet also allow them to walk freely in mud.
  22. The circulatory system in ducks’ legs allows them to tolerate cold water. They also need less oxygenated blood due to tendons and bones instead of muscles and nerves in their extremities. (Source)
  23. Ducks have a 360-degree visual angle in the horizontal plane. (Source)
  24. Ducks are among a few birds that may lay eggs in the nest of other female ducks. It usually happens due to the unavailability of suitable nest sites and because ducks do not defend the vicinity of their nests. Redheads are the most parasitic ducks that lay eggs in other nests. (Source)
  25. Long-tailed ducks are the deepest divers among ducks. They can dive to more than 100 feet while foraging.
  26. The oldest ducks ever were a pair in South Africa. They lived for at least 49 years. (Source) 
  27. Ducks are one of a few birds with a penis. The Argentine lake duck has the longest penis among birds. (Source)
  28. Ducks can change their genders. Usually, females become male ducks when their non-functional ovaries start producing male hormones. (Source)
  29. Ducks have lamellae instead of teeth inside their bills. This comb-like structure assists in filtering food from water and mud.
  30. Duck eggs are larger and tastier than chicken eggs. Duck eggs contain more nutrition and cholesterol than chicken eggs of a similar size.

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