What do Ducks look like?
Some are Super Beautiful!

Are you wondering how do ducks look and what distinguishes them from other birds? Read this post to find out how beautiful they are.

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David A. Swanson

October 10, 2021

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​​What’s This Post About?

If you’re one of those duck lovers, you will surely miss this gorgeous bird while walking by any pond or lake if they’re not around, extending their wings and splashing water around. Unfortunately, however, some individuals don’t find ducks as amusing as duck lovers because of their rude and bossy behavior.

It does not matter if the duck has any vibrant colors or not because the thick and dense formation of their feathers makes them look wonderful anyways. There are various species of ducks with different colors and shapes.

Ducks have small and short necks with stout bodies in comparison to swans and geese. The bill of ducks are broad, and they generally have short and strong wings with pointed shapes. Some species of ducks have extra plumage, while others in common are usually white.


What Do Ducks Look Like?

The reason behind ducks having organized feathers is their habit of preening. They clean their feathers through this process whereby in every little while, they put their head in a twirled position, arranging each feather through the beak. They may preen their feathers after every swim as well.

There is a wide species of ducks that can be found in different colors and shapes. However, the general body structure of ducks is almost similar; they have short and thin necks with chubby and rounded bodies.

In addition, the gender of the duck can be differentiated between a male and female by judging the brightness of colors in its feathers.

Most of the male ducks, also known as drakes, have bright-colored feathers. These feathers help to attract their female counterparts for mating. Female ducks are known as hens, and they have quite dull and less attractive appearance than male ducks. The dull color helps them to camouflage from their predators, as they have to protect eggs too.



The eggshells of duck eggs have tiny little pores in them through which they breathe. They have about 7500 pores that are present at the end of eggshells. All the respiratory gases and water vapor move through these pores, allowing the egg to breathe properly. 

Why Are Male Ducks More Attractive Than Females?

Baby ducks are born precocial, which means they can feed on their own and are born with their eyes wide open. These hatchlings, unlike pigeon hatchlings, are not dependent on their parents for food supply.


The reason that male ducks are more attractive is that female ducks are the ones who choose the partner. This means that drakes have to fight for their position, and they must have all the right features that a hen wants.

The core features that female ducks usually require are a large and strong body, fancy and vibrant plumage, intricate and fine singing abilities, along with the overall impressive display.

This competition of male ducks occurs during the mating season when the hens decide the best mate for themselves.

A healthy mate allows the female to produce healthy hatchlings. Male ducks do not help female ducks while incubating eggs. However, they do guard the surrounding area, making it easier for the female counterpart to do her job.


Unlike most birds like sparrows, the mother duck will not abandon her baby if you touch a duckling. However, it's best not to touch any ducklings and let them be. In the case where you do happen to touch a young duck, it might make the mother duck really angry, who could then launch an attack at you.

Most Beautiful Duck Species

People have different opinions about ranking the beauty of ducks. Hence it is hard to figure out which one of them is the most gorgeous. However, the following are some of the most beautiful duck species according to popular belief.

Harlequin Duck


Harlequins are one of the most adventurous kinds of duck that can always be found diving and thriving in rough, fast, and wild mountain streams, whitewater, rivers, and rocky coastlines.

The males of the harlequin species have intricate plumage patterns. They have white and chestnut patches on both head and body with a dense arrangement of feathers.

King Eider


Male King Eiders are gorgeous looking with a striking yellow color patch on their face, exactly located at the top of their beaks. These duck species can dive about 180 feet deep to catch their aquatic prey.

Long-tailed Duck


Long-tailed ducks can even beat King Eider with their extraordinary strength and swimming capabilities when it comes to a stronger body. The male of these beautiful-looking ducks also has two long tails at the back, making them look more fine and attractive.

Mandarin Duck


Mandarin ducks are native to East Asia. However, they can also be found in United States, England, and Ireland.

The male mandarin duck is one of the most beautiful ducks with vibrant and bright plumage along with hot pink bills. They have properly defined boundaries for each color pattern and have an extremely attractive appearance.

Hooded Merganser

The name was given to this duck species because of its collapsible crest that looks super attractive. Unlike other species, both male and female ducks have the same attractive patterns; however, only males have some black and white markings.


Ducks lay more eggs when there's sufficient daylight; however, in the months between July to December, their egg production slows down when there's less daylight. Even sometimes, they may stop laying eggs at all during this season.

What Do Domestic Ducks And Wild Ducks Seem Like?

For those individuals who wish to pet ducks, it’s essential to differentiate between domestic and wild ducks.

The significant difference between wild and domestic ducks is the lack of vibrancy in their pigmentation. Most of the pet ducks are white or pale. However, wild ducks, on the other hand, are super gorgeous with a bunch of colors.

The more occurrence of white and pale patches, the higher the chance of the duck being a domestic breed.

The size of their bodies can also be a great tool to judge if it’s a domestic or wild duck. Domestic breeds are usually raised on meat which is why they have bulkier and heavy bodies.

On the contrary, wild birds have smaller bodies. But this is not always the case since some birds can be smaller than normal too when domesticated, like Indian runner ducks. 



Ducks are way smarter than you think they can be. Most ducks sleep with their half-brain awake, especially when they're sleeping at the edge of their flock. As a result, they can instantly detect their predator even when sleeping in less than one second.

Where Do Ducks Live?

The feet of ducks are webbed, which aids in their swimming capabilities. In addition, the shape of their feet allows them to paddle through the water easily. Moreover, their feet do not have nerves or blood vessels which is why they cannot feel if the water is cold or icy while swimming.


You might have noticed it always that ducks live near a pond or any other water source where they can thrive. Ducks love to be in the water for swimming and foraging.

They would enter streams and various other waterways to find food. They may also barge into your swimming pools and leave behind all the dirt and droppings.

However, they are mostly found near rivers, marshes, ponds, and wetlands. Only a few ducks travel long to intrude into someone’s swimming pool and munch on their favorite food.

Most ducks also travel to warmer areas where the temperature is optimum enough so that the water doesn’t freeze. These angry yet beautiful birds can be found in almost all regions across the globe.


Since ducks are mostly found in water, to prevent their skin and feathers from getting dehydrated, they have this gland that secretes oil that spreads throughout and covers all the feathers. The oil coating makes all the feathers waterproof and also aids in providing warmth. This oil excreting gland is located near the duck's tail.

Can You Keep Any Duck As A Pet?

Ducks are also known as waterfowl birds because of their love for the water. Ducks are mainly found around water sources or locations, including oceans, lakes, and marshes.


It is better if you do not keep a wild duck as a pet because they’re very sociable animals and they stay in flocks.

Upon getting separated from their flocks, they may get depressed. A secluded and lonely environment may also make it more difficult for them to survive. Wild ducks prefer a free and wild environment and would never settle in enclosed spaces such as backyards.

However, even if you decide to keep a pet duck, you must ensure that you are getting a domesticated species. In addition, make sure that you at least have two pet ducks so that they don’t feel lonely.

Moreover, never keep a duck caged or trapped as this can be very unhealthy for them emotionally.


Ducks can be found all over the globe except for Antarctica because of the freezing temperatures. Some species of ducks even travel to different areas far away from their location to have a suitable environment for breeding. However, they usually prefer warmer regions where the ducklings can be raised easily.

Are Ducks, Swans, And Geese The Same?


All three of them belong to the same family known as waterfowl birds. However, ducks, geese, and swans are different.

They may have a few similar traits, but they are not the same. For example, geese and swans both are way larger as compared to ducks. Moreover, geese are herbivores, while on the other hand, ducks are omnivores and feed on both green and meat.

You might have already noticed that geese, swans, and ducks also have different sounds for communication where geese make honking sounds, ducks communicate by quacks.

Moreover, geese have a more majestic look than ducks and have slightly larger eggs as well.


Keep Reading!

Ducks have very similar looks as other species from their family. Most of the ducks have vibrant and striking plumage with well-defined boundaries of each color patch. In addition, ducks have shiny and properly arranged feathers that have a dense and thick appearance.

They have a round and broad body structure with an overall chubby appearance, and their necks are short and small. They have larger and broader bills with an overall flattened shape. The length is longer as compared to other birds.

There are different types of wings that ducks have according to their species. It all depends on the type of flight they take and the way they use them. Hopefully, you found sufficient information in this blog about how ducks look.

A post you shouldn’t miss out on reading is this , which covers a frequently asked question whether eagles eat ducks or not? It’s an exciting read.  

Do Eagles Eat Ducks? This Rare Footage Will Shock You!

Have you ever seen an eagle dive down on a river bed and then fly up high? Well, that's an eagle's way of hunting a duck.

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By David A. Swanson

Bird Watching USA

My name is David and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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David A. Swanson Picture

David A. Swanson

Bird Watching USA

My name is David and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!



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