A Ducks’ Overview

     Ducks are a group of birds belong to the Waterfowls family, and normally inhabits places where there is much water like ponds, streams, and rivers. They are mostly smaller than their relatives (Swans and Geese), and have shorter necks and wings, and stouter bodies. Ducks are widely distributed across the globe, and in the wild they tend to migrate over long distances. Also, there are over 100 species of Wild Ducks; yet all the Domestic Ducks are thought to be descended from just two of these; The Mallard and the Muscovy Duck.

     Generally, ducks have broad bills, which contain serrated lamellae. And strong, scaly and well developed legs, that are generally set far back on the body, more so in the highly aquatic species. As other Waterfowls, their feet are webbed, and their feathers are excellent at shedding water due to the special oils they produce and smear over their bodies.


Ducks’ Characteristics

     Many duck breeds display sexual dimorphism, with the males (Drakes) being more brightly colored than the females (Ducks/Hens). Also, a lot of duck species moult typically before migration (at that time they become flightless and seek out protected habitats with good food supplies). The drakes of northern duck species often have extravagant plumage, which is moulted in summer to give a more female-like appearance (the “eclipse” plumage). Southern resident species typically show less sexual dimorphism, although there are exceptions like; the Paradise Shelduck.

     Ducks are omnivorous bird, that exploit a variety of food sources such as; grasses, aquatic plants, fishes, insects, small amphibians, and worms. Teals (the name given to a type of small freshwater Dabbling Ducks) and Dabbling Ducks feed primarily on the surface of water or on land, or as deep as they can reach by up-ending without completely submerging. While Diving and Sea Ducks forage deep underwater, and few specialized duck species such as the ‘Mergansers’ are adapted to catch and swallow large fishes.


Duck’s Reproduction

     Ducks are mainly monogamous with bonds that lasts for a single year, but the more sedentary species tend to have pair-bonds that last numerous years. They breed mostly once a year, and prefer doing that in favorable conditions (spring/summer or wet seasons), and usually female ducks gets attracted to the more colorful drakes.

     The female duck builds her nest with grass or reeds or even in a hole in a tree, and the drake will guard their territory by chasing away other couples. Once the female lays 5 – 12 eggs, she will sit on her eggs to keep them warm, and meanwhile the drake joins other bachelor groups of males only. The eggs will hatch within 28 days normally, except for the Muscovy Duck which takes about 35 days to hatch. Mother ducks become very caring and protective to their young (Ducklings), except for Domestic ducks, as most of them neglect their eggs and ducklings. Ducklings feather up fast and they become able to fly within 5 – 8 weeks, and they also reach sexual maturity in less than a year.

     Ducks’ common predators are the Raccoons, Turtles, Hawks, Foxes and Snakes. Domestic ducks are farmed for their meat, eggs and feathers, and Wild ducks are hunted for food or sport.


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The Mandarin drake
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A couple of Mallard ducks
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A Wild Muscovy drake
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A domestic drake
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A Mallard hen with her ducklings



Dabbling Ducks

  • African Black Duck
  • American Black Duck
  • Australian Wood Duck
  • Black-Headed Duck
  • Blue Duck
  • Bronze-Winged Duck
  • Comb Duck
  • Falcated Duck
  • Freckled Duck
  • Gadwall Duck
  • Garganey Duck
  • Goldeneye
    • Barrow’s Goldeneye
    • Bufflehead
    • Common Goldeneye
  • Harlequin Duck
  • Hartlaub’s Duck
  • Hawaiian
  • Long-Tailed Duck
  • Mallard Duck
  • Mandarin Duck
  • Masked Duck
  • Meller’s Duck
  • Merganser
    • Brazilian Merganser
    • Common Merganser
    • Hooded Merganser
    • Red-breasted Merganser
    • Scaly-Sided Merganser
  • Mottled Duck
  • Pacific Black Duck
  • Patagonian Crested Duck
  • Philippine Duck
  • Pink-Eared Duck
  • Pintail
    • Eaton’s Pintail
    • Northern Pintail
    • White-Cheeked Pintail
    • Yellow-Billed Pintail
  • Pygmy Goose
    • African Pygmy Goose
    • Cotton Pygmy Goose
    • Green Pygmy Goose
  • Scoter
    • Black Scoter
    • Common Scoter
    • Surf Scoter
    • Velvet Scoter
    • White-Winged Scoter
  •  Shelduck
    • Australian Shelduck
    • Common Shelduck
    • Paradise Shelduck
    • Radjah Shelduck
    • Ruddy Shelduck
    • South African Shelduck
  • Shoveler
    • Australasian Shoveler
    • Cape Shoveler
    • Northern Shoveler
    • Red Shoveler
  • Smew
  • Spot-Billed Duck
  • Steamer
    • Chubut Steamer
    • Falkland Steamer
    • Flying Steamer
    • Fuegian Steamer
  • Stiff-Tailed
    • Blue-Billed Duck
    • Lake Duck
    • Maccoa Duck
    • Musk Duck
    • Ruddy Duck
    • White-Headed Duck
  • Teal
    • Andean Teal
    • Baikal Teal
    • Bernier’s Teal
    • Blue-Winged Teal
    • Brazilian Teal
    • Brown Teal
    • Campbell Teal
    • Cape Teal
    • Chestnut Teal
    • Cinnamon Teal
    • Eurasian Teal
    • Green-Winged Teal
    • Grey Teal
    • Hottentot Teal
    • Laysan Teal
    • Puna Teal
    • Red-Billed Teal
    • Ringed Teal
    • Silver Teal
    • Sunda Teal
    • Yellow-Billed Teal
  • Torrent Duck
  • Whistling
    • Black-Bellied Whistling
    • Fulvous Whistling
    • Lesser Whistling
    • Plumed Whistling
    • Spotted Whistling
    • Wandering Whistling
    • West Indian Whistling
    • White-Faced Whistling
  • White-Backed Duck
  • White-Winged Duck
  • Wigeon
    • American Wigeon
    • Chiloe Wigeon
    • Eurasian Wigeon
  • Wild Muscovy Duck
  • Wood Duck
  • Yellow-Billed Duck

Diving Ducks

  • Canvasback Duck
  • Eider
    • Common Eider
    • King Eider
    • Spectacled Eider
  • Ferruginous Duck
  • Hardhead Duck
  • Marbled Teal
  • Pochard
    • Baer’s Pochard
    • Common Pochard
    • Madagascan Pochard
    • Red-Crested Pochard
    • Rosy-Billed Pochard
    • Southern Pochard
  • Redhead Duck
  • Ring-Necked Duck
  • Scaup
    • Greater Scaup
    • Lesser Scaup
    • New Zealand Scaup
  • Steller’s Eider
  • Tufted Duck

Domestic Ducks

  • Abacot Ranger
  • Ancona
  • Appleyard
  • Aylesbury
  • Black East Indian
  • Blue Swedish
  • Call
  • Cayuga
  • Crested
  • Duclair
  • Golden Cascade
  • Indian Runner
  • Khaki Campbell
  • Magpie
  • Muscovy
  • Orpington
  • Pekin
  • Pomeranian
  • Rouen
  • Saxony
  • Shetland
  • Welsh Harlequin
  • Yellow Swedish