Aren’t ducks one of the most beautiful and attractive species in the world? The answer is yes. From the waterfowl family ‘Anatidae’, be the duck wild or domestic, humankind has revered the duck, sung songs about them, bred them, written books about ducks and painted pictures of these beautiful aquatic birds.
Ducks are waterfowl found in salt water and fresh water which gives them wide options when it comes to nesting. There are 120 species of ducks. Some are strikingly irresistible, some are commonly seen around parks and some rarer species prefer solitude far from humans. They have beautiful designs and multiple feathered patterns which help them attract mates or offer camouflage from predators.
Fantastic Facts About Ducks
- Male ducks are called drakes and baby ducks are called ducklings; newly hatched, ducklings will immediately clamp onto the first suitable mother figure they lie eyes on, sometimes unintentionally not siding to their birth mother . This is called imprinting.
* Can ducks enjoy a human’s company? If they bob their heads up and down when they see you have fans. A Duck bobs it’s head up and down, often excitedly quacking when it is happy or flirting.
There are so many beautiful ducks in the world but here we will talk about the our five most beautiful ducks in the world:
1. Ruddy Ducks
The ruddy duck is unique by its bright blue bill with scoop shape and a long stiff tail. You can see them in North America. Males have white cheeks and blackish caps. In the winter season, blue bill and chestnut bodies fade to a dull grey. They dive and swim in water around coastal areas. Ruddy ducks mostly eat aquatic crustaceans, aquatic insects and roots as well as seeds of plants.
Female ducks builds their nests in tall vegetation to hide them from predators. These ducks breed during spring and summer. In the breeding season, males perform courtship to attract the female. The breeding areas of ducks are ponds and fresh lakes; approximately 86 percent of the breeding population is scattered in the prairie pothole region of south-central Canada and north-central United States.
2. Mandarin Ducks
Mandarin ducks are referred to as one of the most beautiful ducks in the world. After seeing them, you can only but stare in awe at the wonderful hues of brown and burgundy. The male has a red bill, large and white crescent around the eye giving the breed its famous look. The breast is purple with two vertical white and black stripes. Males also have two orangey colored wing tips at their back flank feathers.
While females have white eye-ring and stripes start from the eye to the back. Their colors are far more muted shades of brown than the males and they have a very feminine look. Their bill tips have pale tip with peach bridges. Mandarin ducks are found in many parts of the world like Russia, England, Korea, California and Ireland. They breed in wooden areas near lakes and make nests in tree cavities. Mandarin ducks eat seeds and plants, especially beetles, snails, small fish and insects. Their diet changes seasonally.
3. King Eider
King Eiders are also most charming, and largest sea ducks that live in the Northern Hemisphere. The male has a black body, a blueish neck, and a white chest. In comparison, the female is an overall warm brown with a black bill.
The male is called king because the orange knob on the head looks like a crown and the female is occasionally called a Queen Eider. Typically, males are heavier, slightly larger and more colorful than females. Female Eiders build scrape nests on the ground near water with their feet. If you see their nest, you will notice that she lines the nest with vegetation and feathers.
Their food habits change seasonally. For most of the time, they are at sea and eat starfish, sea anemones. While in the breeding season, they eat small invertebrates from the surface of the water.
4. Hooded Merganser
You will see hoods on their heads. We can say their bills are a, “saw bill” shape because they are not as flat as the typical bills of ducks. These are small ducks. They have a crest on the head which makes them appear oversized that they can raise or lower.
The female has a body of brown hues while the male has spectacular golden wings and a black and white livery. There are white stripes on tertial wing feathers of both sexes. One interesting thing you must know about hooded merganser is that in non-breeding season, the male merganser looks similar to the female except for the same colour of eyes.
These ducks are short-distance migrants. They like to live on ponds and small estuaries and prefer freshwater. Mergansers are a diving predator so they are heavier than their surface feeding cousins. Mostly they eat fish aquatic insects and crabs. They are monogamous ducks and live together until the female lays eggs. Their breeding time is spring and summer. During incubation, the female usually loses its weight from 8% to 16%.
5. Spectacled Eider Duck
You will see these eye-catching ducks on the coast of Alaska and northeastern Siberia. These are sea ducks that are medium size compared with other ducks. Males have a captivating yellow-green head, white back, and black body with white stripes around the eyes.
The female has a brown color with a light brown patch around the eyes. In the season of late summer and fall, the males are entirely brown. They like to eat aquatic insects, berries, grass and seeds from fresh water ponds and lakes while mollusks and crustaceans from shallow water are part of their diet.
They are rare because their breeding population has decreased by over 96% due to climate change and the threat of gas and oil development in the Arctic Ocean.
If you are interested in exploring nature, I suggest you go to different lakes or even your local park and pond to try to catch a glimpse of outstanding beauty of ducks which can be beautiful and rare in their color, designs and bodily features.
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