Are Ducks Birds? 14 Unbelievable Facts About Ducks!

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Who doesn’t love some weird interesting duck facts? So, let’s get on with it!

Are ducks birds?

Ducks are birds. They come under the genus Anatidae of the bird species. They are similar to swans and geese who are also members of this family.[1]

All three of these are called waterfowls as they evolved from one common ancestor 66 million years ago. [2]


Fun has just begun. Keep reading on to know the true reality of ducks.

Ducks are cannibals (sometimes…)

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We associate cannibalism with certain animals like bears but definitely not ducks. However, ducks as young as 4-5 weeks start showing cannibalistic signs. [3] The exact reason for these actions is not certain but many believe they do this out of boredom or overcrowding.


Ducks have a yuge genitalia

From imgur

Most birds don’t have mammal like genitalia but ducks are special. They have them and they are enormous. These are corkscrew-shaped long objects. They can sometimes be longer than their entire body.[4]


Do you know what they do with those? They rape! 🤦‍♂️


Ducks are serial sexual offenders

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They do look lovely but as many as 40 percent sexual encounters between some duck species are forced.[5] Ducks in large gangs force copulate with females and these encounters sometimes end up fatal for the hens. The other males watch these horrors as spectators.


Ducks females aka hens suffer long-term trauma even if they survive. They can lose their partners (and the perks that come with it), social status, etc. That’s why females devote a lot of time in hiding, escaping, and fighting from multiple male aggressors.


Suffering such travesty every day, female ducks have evolved their lady parts exactly opposite to the male organs. The duck genitalia is coiled counterclockwise while the female organ evolved to be clockwise. This is how females control whose sperm they want to ovulate. [6]


Researchers have even speculated that only 10 percent or less of all forced encounters result in offspring.[7]


When these lustful creatures cant find hens, they try to copulate with their fellow drakes. Almost 10% of mallard ducks display homosexual tendencies. [8]


They can even try to sexually exploit other species such as chickens, goose, etc. However, these encounters can end up badly for drakes as many of these species are themselves pretty violent.


Still, sage advice: keep your poultry away from drakes in mating seasons.


Btw, you think this is bad?


Ducks are necrophiliac as well

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It does not occur often but one biologist, Kees Moeliker, noticed one day that a mallard duck ‘mated’ with the dead corpse of another duck for 20 hrs straight while talking only two breaks of 1-3 minutes each. The horror only ended when the man disturbed the mallard and the duck left without shame. [9]


Fun fact: The researcher published this paper and got a noble for it.


You think people will abhor such acts but certain creatures at reddit called it a “victimless crime.” To which people responded in kind.

Young Ducks are imitators

Ducklings start imitating the first animal they see around them. If they see ducks, they behave like ducks while if they see dogs, like dogs. The phenomenon is known as imprinting and is not exclusive to ducks. A lot of animals can exhibit the behavior of other species.


Haven’t we all seen those lovely dodo videos? Here is one:

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Ducks can sleep with one eye open

Ducks can keep half of their eyes open while sleeping. They do this to keep an eye on predators. While most of their brain is asleep during this time, a tiny part is dedicated to monitoring any suspicious activity in their surroundings.


Ducks have wide binocular vision

Ducks eyes have evolved to be very perceptive with a wide range of vision. As they are placed very strategically to backish-top of their heads, they can see up to 340 degrees in one go. [10] [11]


Only female ducks Quack

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The quintessential duck sound, “Quack, Quack, Quack” is not produced by males. (Go feminism? 😉 ) Females produce these sounds to call others towards her.


The males hiss and make some other sounds as well. They do low chattering sounds often and sometimes do high-pitched whistles.[12]


Duck can change their sex


Ducks are one of the few birds that can change their sex both from male to female and vice versa. It’s very rare though: almost 1 in 10,000. That’s why there is a need to study these transformations more.


Males when turned into females start quacking and exhibit nesting signs. However, there is no verified evidence of a male duck turning female and laying eggs. The female to male transformations are a bit more studied and verified.


Females turn to males and start exhibiting male behaviors, lose their loud quacks, etc.


A possible explanation as to why this happens is the abnormal structure of the group (too many drakes or too many hens while lacking opposite gender).  Since birds have two ovaries, and if one of them stops working, the other due to lack of diversity in the pack can start producing excessive testosterone and the changes start to happen.


Ducks are waterproof


Ducks have waterproof feathers owning a very intricate design and a layer of a wax-like substance. They cover things feathers with this substance while preening. The wax-like substance is produced near their tail and provides complete protection to ducks for several hours in water.


Ducks don’t get cold feet


Thanks to Getty Images

Ducks have evolved to have special capillaries that allow them to swim in snowy water without getting frostbite. These vessels act as intermediaries between chilled blood of the feet and warmer upper body blood. They also block cold blood from lowering the overall temperature of the duck’s body.


Ducks are found all over the world

Ducks mate a lot. They can produce as much as 120-180 eggs per year.[13] This combined with their tendency of going from one place to another as seasons change from hot to cold, makes them part of every area on earth except Antarctica.


Ducks grow whiter with age


Ducks grow whiter with age. Even if they are black, they start getting white patches in their hairs and as time passes they can turn into completely white. See the bird in the picture.


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