Wild Ducks

Each species of Wild Duck has its own behavioral habits. Ducks eating habits also vary. Wild Ducks will eat grass roots, water plants, wild rice, seeds of all types, small nuts, berries, grains, small fish, shellfish, worms, leeches, crayfish, toads, frogs, salamanders, and tadpoles. Some species of wild ducks eat by diving for fish while others species will feed in corn and other grain fields, in marshes, and along the banks of rivers and lakes.

Wild ducks usually chooses and remains with one mate for a season. The is not the case with domestic ducks as they changes mates between broods.

Wild Duck - American Wood Duck

Wild Duck – American Wood Duck

A typical wild duck will make a nest in a saucer-shaped manner. It is built of reeds, grasses, mosses, or leaves, and is lined with down from the female ducks breast. Most duck nests are built on the ground usually in some depression among reeds, rushes, rocks, willows, or like the Wood Duck, in a cavity of a dead tree. Ducks of some species nest high up in trees, typically in cavities. Some ducks occupy the abandoned tree nests of such larger birds as hawks or pileated woodpeckers.

Most species around lay 6 to 12 eggs. Females ducks of some species will lay as many as 20. The eggs are incubated only by the female with a few exceptions. When the female duck leaves the nest, she covers the eggs with a layer of feathers. Incubation lasts for about 28-30 days. After hatching, the young follow the mother to a body of water. The young of most wild duck species first fly when they are between 50 and 60 days old.

All of a duck’s flight feathers are shed at the same time. Males shed the feathers soon after breeding and females after nesting. Males lose their bright plumage during this molting. This is a protection so not to draw attention to the nesting area. The ducks are unable to fly for a few weeks until their new feathers grow in. Males regain their bright plumage with the new feathers.

Ducks have short but unusually strong wings, enabling them to fly long distances. Some ducks migrate from Canada to Central America. Unlike geese, ducks do not fly in formation. Each flock may include about 100 ducks. Each year, the ducks follow the same fly ways, or routes, and the ducks stop at the same feeding sites along the flyways.

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