Encyclopedia Entry: All About the Duck—Duck Waterfowl Species Information

Of the many various waterfowl species popular among farmers and backyard hobbyists, the duck is one of the most popular. The "duck" is the commonly-used name for sundry waterfowl species in the Anatidae bird family. Ducks are usually divided between several sub-families. Ducks are mostly aquatic birds, although some ducks are more aquatic than others. Unlike geese and swans, ducks are smaller in size and weight than these waterfowl counterparts. Sometimes, ducks are confused with other types of unrelated waterfowl, like loons, grebes, and coots.

Duck Waterfowl Species Info: Common Duck Behavior

While there are various duck breeds, all breeds of duck share common waterfowl behaviors.

Ducks: Feeding Behavior

The methods of feeding ducks in a domestic farm project is quite different from the natural diet of ducks. Wild ducks like to eat various land-based and aquatic foods. In their natural habitat, such duck feed can include aquatic and land-based plants and grasses, wild fish, bugs and insects, worms, snails and worms.

Diving duck breeds and sea ducks often dive and search for food at significant underwater depths. In contrast, duck breeds that stay on the surface of the water (such as Mallard ducks) usually dip their heads in the water or dive at shallow depths.

Ducks: Breeding Behavior

The breeding of ducks in a backyard duck raising project is similar to the breeding behavior of wild ducks. Ducks usually mate in monogamous relationships—one male duck will mate solely with the female duck for committed relationships of up to one year. Ducks will breed and brood ducklings once per year, often in the first six months of the year.

Ducks: Communication Behavior

Ducks are commonly thought to make a "quacking" noise. In reality, most wild ducks don't quack, although the wild duck's domestic counterparts often do. Wild ducks make a variety of waterfowl noises, including whistles and what is often referred to as "grunting."

Duck Waterfowl Species Info: Duck Ecology

Ducks live around the world and can be found in various environments with the exception of the Antarctic land mass. Some duck breeds have been found on isolated islands, as well as in forests and mountains. Many of these ducks are migratory and move through various ecological environments as the seasons require. Some ducks have even made a home for themselves in urban centers and populated city areas such as public parks.

Duck predators are varied and widespread. When ducklings, ducks are very vulnerable to various duck predators such as fish and other birds such as hawks. Even mature adult ducks can be snagged by duck predators. As with many animal species, various duck breeds are also in danger from human-based problems such as water pollution.

For more information about the habits and care of ducks, consult our free duck articles library for free duck information.