Everyone loves ducks. They can be found on lakes and rivers throughout the country and they love interacting with humans – particularly if we have food. We can all hear them when they quack to let us know they’re there, but do their quacks echo? The answer is yes, of course it does, but we may not hear it.
We’ll explain why and we’ve also got some other incredible facts about ducks which you may not know.
- 1 7 Fantastic Duck Facts
- 2 Frequently Asked Questions:
7 Fantastic Duck Facts
1. Do duck quacks echo?
When it was first suggested that duck quacks don’t have an echo, it captured the imagination of many people. So much so, that scientists even set about finding out if it was true. They placed a duck in a reverberation chamber to test the echo, and they proved that the echo is there. So how did this myth start?
- One thing they discovered was that the echo was very quiet, and it may simply be that it is so hard to hear.
- One other possible explanation is where ducks quack. To hear a clear echo, they need to make a noise near a surface which will reflect it, such as a building or a mountain. Ducks tend to live in water so there aren’t many reflective surfaces around them when they quack.
2. Where are ducks found?
Ask anyone this question and the answer will be ‘everywhere’. That’s pretty close but not quite. Ducks are found all over the world, except in Antarctica. Some species of duck can be seen on all the other continents, while some smaller species are only found in certain areas.
They also live near both sea water and fresh water, and they can live on land too, which makes them versatile birds.
3. What do ducks eat?
Many birds are omnivores, and ducks are no exception. Some species stay in the same place all year round, so they adapt their diet to the food which is available at the time. They eat fish, nuts, seeds, fruit, aquatic plants and have even been known to eat grass.
To help them eat, their bill is designed to help them forage for food. The tip has a hard point to help them dig in to the earth and the sides look very much like a comb. This allows the water to drain out, and leaves insects and crustaceans for the duck to eat.
4. Why don’t ducks migrate?
Some species do and will seek out a warmer climate during the winter. They are capable of withstanding cold temperatures though. Ever wondered how they can sit on iced lakes in winter? Here’s how they do it.
Their circulation includes a ‘counter’ system in their legs and feet. Their feet have veins and arteries which lie next to each other. They then have a system of capillaries which weave among them. If a duck’s feet are cold, the cold blood going up the body meets warmer blood coming down from the body. These capillaries then exchange the heat, so that the feet don’t feel the cold. It also means that cooler blood does not go back in to their bodies to reduce their body temperature.
5. How well can ducks see?
Ducks have excellent vision.
- If you look at their head, you will notice that their eyes are on either side. This gives them a wide field of vision up to 340°.
- They also have 3 eyelids, which help them to see just as well underwater. Their third eyelid acts much like a pair of swim goggles.
6. How fast can ducks fly?
- Ducks wings are very similar in shape to those of a peregrine falcon, and this allows them to fly up to 80 kph, or 50 mph. The fastest recorded duck is a Red-breasted Merganser which was flying at over 160 kph or 100mph. Even more incredibly, it was being followed by an airplane.
- Talking of airplanes, ducks can also fly high enough that you may see one from a plane. While they normally fly between 200 and 4,000 feet, they have been spotted at 21,000 feet!
- Another interesting fact is that male ducks cannot fly for up to one month after the breeding season. Their plumage changes to resemble that of a female, and as new feathers begin to grow, they are able to start flying again.
7. What do you call a group of ducks?
The collective term for a group of ducks is a raft, team or a paddling.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do all ducks quack?
Surprisingly, no, they don’t. The female is the one you will hear quacking as male ducks are generally silent.
Ducks also communicate through a series of different noises. They can grunt, squeak, whistle and even bark. While mothers may quack when they find a suitable nesting site and lays her eggs, the mating ritual and courtship can be made up of many different sounds.
How long do ducks live?
A lot will depend on the species and where they live, but on average a duck will live from 5 – 10 years. Ducks in the wild may have a shorter lifespan as they face more dangers and also have the risk of being killed by a predator.
- Mallards have a lifespan of just 3 to 5 years.
- White ducks and Pekin ducks can live between 5 to 10 years. The oldest recorded duck was a white duck, who lived to be 20 years old.
- Muscovy ducks tend to have the longest lifespan of between 8 and 12 years
Are ducks territorial?
- Ducks can be very territorial, particularly during the nesting season. Like most other birds, they will attack if they think their nest is under threat.
- Ducks also mate for life, so if a new male duck arrives, the existing male may see this as a threat to his mate.
- They aren’t generally aggressive to humans, but do be careful not to get too close to their nest or chicks. If you respect their territory, they will respect you.
After more duck facts? Check out the video below!
Ducks are fascinating, fun and everyone loves to stop and feed them. When it was first suggested that duck quacks don’t echo, it spread quickly all over the World. This just proves how popular these birds are. All birds have their own special features which help them to survive in the wild, and ducks are unique in some of the things they can do. We think that just makes us love them more.