Did You Know? Incredible Duck Facts

Ducks animal facts are all about a unique aquatic bird belonging to the family Anatidae

Ducks are aquatic birds belonging to the family Anatidae. A duck is called 'waterfowl' as they reside in aquatic habitats like ponds, rivers, and oceans. The word 'duck' is coined from the English word 'duce' meaning diver. Ducks are present all over the world and found in every continent except Antarctica. Ducks are usually smaller than their relatives, the swans, and geese, and reside in both fresh water and sea water. They are broadly classified into twelve types. Dabbling ducks, diving ducks, Scoter, and perching ducks are among the various types of ducks.

Ducks are birds that are well adapted for aquatic habitat. Ducks have highly waterproof feathers because of the feathers' interlocking nature. Their webbed feet act like paddles which helps them swim and travel on water. Ducks sleep right on the surface of the water and are quite alert even when they are sleeping at night. They are monogamous breeders and females usually take part in the incubation process as well as taking care of the ducklings. Ducks have been reared as farm animals for many years because of their varied economic use. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN Red list, ducks are declared as species of Least Concern. Destruction of habitat, hunting, and climate change are some of the major threats. Their predators include foxes, raccoons, coyotes, large fish, and minks. Keep on reading to find out some fascinating duck facts!

You may also like greater sage-grouse and goose facts.


Fact File

What do they prey on?

Small fish, insects, and worms

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

1.1-3.5 lb (0.5-1.5 kg)

How long are they?

17.7-25.5 in(45-65 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Greyish white body, short neck, and large bill

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Humans, foxes, raccoons, coyotes

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Marshes, rivers, and lakes


Found on every continent except Antarctica





Scientific Name

Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos Wood duck - Aix sponsa




Anas, Aix

Duck Interesting Facts

What type of animal are ducks?

Ducks are aquatic birds who belong to the class Aves.

What class of animal do ducks belong to?

Ducks belong to the Anatidae family of the class Aves. The scientific name of Mallard, a type of dabbling duck, is Anas platyrhynchos.

How many ducks are there in the world?

The total duck population is estimated to be around 49.5 million.

Where do ducks live?

Ducks are found almost in all parts of the world except Antarctica. The wood duck and canvasback are native to North America. Redheads are also found in North America especially in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and southern parts of the United States. The African black duck resides in southern and eastern parts of sub-Saharan Africa whereas the Northern Pintail is mainly found across North America, Asia, and Europe. Common goldeneyes reside in Scotland, the northern part of the United States, Scandinavia, Northern Russia, and the Baltic states.

What is a duck's habitat?

Ducks are birds who live in the aquatic habitat constituting both freshwater and sea water. Their habitat majorly includes water bodies such as ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, oceans, and marshes. They reside in marshes which are wetland areas consisting of herbaceous plants. They are also found in swamps which are wetlands covered with forests.

Who do ducks live with?

Ducks are social animals and usually live in groups which are known as team, paddling, raft. Male and female ducks either live in pairs or with ducklings. Their groups are usually large in number.

How long do ducks live?

Ducks have an average lifespan of 5-10 years. Some of the species can live up to 20 years.

How do they reproduce?

Ducks are usually monogamous in nature which means they have one partner at a time. Their pair-bond usually last for one or a few years. They breed once a year and male ducks attract the female ducks by their colorful plumage or feathers. Their breeding season is mostly in the summers or spring. Ducks also build their nests before they start breeding. The full set of eggs laid by the female is called a clutch and it is 3-15 in number depending on the species and breeding conditions. At least one egg is laid every day until the clutch is empty. The female incubates the eggs and they will hatch within 28 days normally. The female is majorly involved in raising the ducklings after they hatch out of the eggs. The mother duck will lead the ducklings to water and keep them together to protect them from predators.

What is their conservation status?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN Red List has listed ducks as species of Least Concern. Although, five duck species are extinct and some of them are vulnerable and threatened with extinction. Hunting for food, destruction of habitat and climatic changes are some of the major threats encountered by them.

Duck Fun Facts

What do ducks look like?

Ducks generally have a broad and elongated body with a long neck, although not as long as geese and swans. They also have a large bill which helps them to catch fishes or other insects from the water. They are almost 17.7-25.5 in (45-65 cm) in length with a wingspan of 31.9-38.6 in (81-98 cm) approximately. They have webbed feet which allow them to travel on the surface of the water and act like paddles. Their feet don't feel cold because of the unique alignment of the blood vessel system. The plumage of the duck has a variety of colors and differs from one duck species to another. They show some amounts of sexual dimorphism in appearance and body weight. Male mallard ducks have green-colored heads with gray wings while females are brown plumage. The African black ducks have a black body with white spots and orange feet; the male mandarin ducks have a red bill and white eye-ring, the females look similar but a lot paler.

Ducks is called waterfowl as they mostly reside in aquatic habitat.

How cute are they?

Their cuteness usually stems from their appearance. Ducks have a large bill with colorful plumage. They also have large webbed feet which act like paddles. They have a distinctive call that sounds like a grunt, whistles, or cooing.

How do they communicate?

Ducks usually have very distinct calls that sound like whistles, grunts, or cooing. Calls can be of various pitches. The call of a diving duck sounds like 'scaup'. Whistling ducks are named after their shrill calls which resemble whistles. According to recent research, the calls of duck echo. They usually call to attract mates or when they face a predator or some threat.  

How big is a duck?

Ducks are almost 17.7-25.5 in(45-65 cm) in length. They are almost seven times the size of a bee hummingbird (2.4 in).

How fast can ducks move?

Ducks can fly at a speed of 40-60 mph (64.4 -96.5 kmph).

How much do ducks weigh?

Ducks generally weigh between 1.1-3.5 lb (0.5-1.5 kg) depending upon the species. Males generally weigh more than females. The male Muscovy duck is considered to be the heaviest having a weight of 10.1-15 lb (4.6-6.8 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Male ducks are known as drakes and female ducks are referred to as hens.

What would you call a baby duck?

Baby ducks are usually called ducklings. To raise a duckling you need to arrange a comfortable place for it to stay like a bag or a cardboard box, a shallow bowl for water and food, a chick grit, and heat lamps to keep it warm.

What do they eat?

Ducks eat a variety of food which includes grass, grains, aquatic plants, insects, frogs, shellfish, and mollusks. They are omnivores and obtain their food on the surface of water, land, and some forage deep underwater.

Are they friendly?

Ducks are usually very gentle and generally do not show any aggression especially a domestic duck. However, if provoked, they might become aggressive towards humans. Generally, ducks aren't dangerous and cannot kill humans.

Would they make a good pet?

Ducks can be a good pet and have a lot of economic use. Ducks have been domesticated as pets for more than 500 years. Domestic ducks are descended from the Mallard duck mostly and have a very adaptable nature. Ancona ducks and crested ducks are some other examples of domestic ducks. Ducks, being very social, need other ducks to live with so it is advisable to not have a single duck as a pet.

Did you know...

Ducks undergo molting in the summers or springs where they lose all their feathers at once. Waterfowl undergo a process called the 'simultaneous wing molt' and it makes them flightless for a span of time until the wings grow back. Male ducks or drakes undergo 'eclipse plumage' shortly after the breeding season is over. They lose their colorful feathers and they are replaced by paler, brown feathers similar to that of the females. In the winter seasons or in fall, they undergo another set of molting known as the 'nuptial molting' where they regain their colorful plumage thus allowing them to attract the females during mating. This is a special characteristic of ducks.

How many species of duck are there?

Ducks can be classified into 12 main types. These are Diving duck, dabbling duck, perching duck, eider, sea duck, whistling duck, teal, domestic duck, scoter, stiff-tailed duck, goldeneye, and merganser. Dabbling ducks feed both on the surface of water and land. The Mallard and Northern pintail are some of the examples of dabbling duck. Diving ducks, unlike the dabbling ducks, can dive deep into the water in search of food as they are good swimmers and are lighter in weight. These include redhead and canvasback. Perching ducks are the most arboreal and can easily perch or rest on trees with the help of their clawed toes. The Eider is commonly found in cold arctic habitats and their feathers, having insulating properties, protect them from the bitter cold climatic conditions.

Why do ducks have feathers?

Feathers are definitely one of the most important characteristic features of ducks which have major functions. The feathers are waterproof in nature because of their intricate pattern and contain a waxy coat secreted from the preen gland. The predominant function of feathers is to give protection to the duck against other elements. It also helps the bird to fly when required. During cold seasons, the feathers keep the duck warm. The feathers are of three kinds: flight, contour, and down. Contour feather acts as a protective covering for the duck. The feathers overlap one another, preventing wind and moisture to enter the body. Flight feathers are present on the tails and wings which withstands the pressure and strain of the flight. To provide support to the duck during flight, the flight weathers are directly attached to the bones and ligaments. The down feathers are light and fluffy which traps warm air in the body. The down under-feathers remain dry while the ducks are underwater. Females use their down feathers during incubation which transfer heat from their body to the eggs.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including Leghorn chicken, or golden pheasant.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our duck coloring pages.



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