Fun Facts about Ducks

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Ducks belong to the bird family of Antidae and there is a wide range of duck species found in different parts of the world except in the continent of Antarctica. Many species of ducks have been a form of domesticated animal, a practise that had been adopted by humans more than 500 years ago. Domestic duck species usually belong to the Mallard or Muscovy. Today over 40 species of ducks are domesticated; the White Peking being most commonly reared for eggs and meat.

Some interesting facts about ducks are:

Ducks move in groups called raft. Baby ducks are known as ducklings while the female and male are known as duck and drake respectively.
Since ducks swim frequently, their feathers are adapted to their living conditions in an intricate feather structure. The feathers also have a waxy coating on them that make it waterproof which keeps them dry even when they dive deep underwater.

Ducks are vulnerable to predators during the mating season which usually lasts for about a month. Male ducks have an eclipse plumage during this season.

Duck species are also known to be monogamous for one particular breeding season but they do not mate for life. Mandarin ducks however may have a strong bond with their partners that last more than one mating season.

The food habits of ducks are typically omnivorous and opportunistic. They will eat anything suitable that comes their way including grass, crustaceans, fruits, fish, seeds, insects, aquatic plants etc. Their bill too is adapted in a manner so as to help them forage in mud for food and even strain water when they feed while swimming.

Duck bills contain a hard nail at the tip and a comb like structure on the sides. These features help them while feeding.

Ducks lose feather during the mating season. During this time they are unable to fly which lasts for about a month.

Federal records have reported an average of 100 ducks dying due to collision with Airplanes in America.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act was implemented in 1918 that aimed to prevent market shooting of ducks in regions between United States and Canada. Various hunting season limits and bag limits were implemented under this Act keeping in mind the danger of extinction of many species of ducks.

Wood Ducks are known to be the most productive egg layers amongst all of the duck species. Another reason for this is the high mortality rate of the wood duckling species. Mother Wood ducks also practise dump nesting which involves laying eggs in another duck’s nest.

Apart from being the most productive egg layers, wood ducks are also known to have the largest eyes and an ability to fly through nearby trees and branches with the help of their broad wing structure. This is known to have happened through evolution and interspecies breeding.

Banning of hunting during breeding season and construction of various nest boxes for their protection, a continued effort for over 7 decades has enabled the duck species to grow and thereby prevent their extinction.

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