Why do ducks waddle?
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|Why do ducks waddle?
Ducks are aquatic birds that spend a large part of their lives resting
and feeding on the surface of ponds, lakes, and streams. They are
equipped well for swimming and dabbling for food in water, using their
webbed feed for propulsion in water. Their legs and feet are optimized
for swimming, not traveling over land. When they need to walk in search
of food or nesting areas, they must lift each foot and balance on the
other webbed foot, resulting in the back-and-forth motion that we call
Definition of waddle (Merriam-Webster)
Why do ducks waddle? (Quora knowledge site)
Ducks waddling (YouTube video of waddling mallards)
Duck facts for kids (kidskonnect)
From the Wikipedia article on ducks:
Ducks eat a variety of food sources such as grasses, aquatic plants, fish, insects, small amphibians, worms, and small molluscs.
Dabbling ducks feed on the surface of water or on land, or as deep as
they can reach by up-ending without completely submerging. Along the
edge of the beak, there is a comb-like structure called a pecten. This
strains the water squirting from the side of the beak and traps any
food. The pecten is also used to preen feathers and to hold slippery
Diving ducks and sea ducks forage deep underwater. To be able to
submerge more easily, the diving ducks are heavier than dabbling ducks,
and therefore have more difficulty taking off to fly.
A few specialized species such as the mergansers are adapted to catch
and swallow large fish. Others have the characteristic wide flat beak
adapted to dredging-type jobs such as pulling up waterweed, pulling
worms and small molluscs out of mud, searching for insect larvae, and
bulk jobs such as dredging out, holding, turning head first, and
swallowing a squirming frog. To avoid injury when digging into sediment
it has no cere, but the nostrils come out through hard horn.
Ducks are generally monogamous. Larger species and the more sedentary
species (like fast river specialists) tend to have pair-bonds that last
numerous years. Most duck species breed once a year, choosing to do so
in favorable conditions (spring/summer or wet seasons). Ducks also tend
to make a nest before breeding, and, after hatching, lead their
ducklings to water.
Mother ducks are very caring and protective of their young, but may
abandon some of their ducklings if they are physically stuck or are not
prospering due to genetic defects or sickness. Ducklings can also be
orphaned by inconsistent late hatching where a few eggs hatch after the
mother has abandoned the nest and led her ducklings to water.
Female mallard ducks make the classic "quack" sound, but despite
widespread misconceptions, most species of duck do not "quack". In
general, ducks make a wide range of calls, ranging from whistles,
cooing, yodels, and grunts.
Ducks have many predators. Ducklings are particularly vulnerable, since
their inability to fly makes them easy prey not only for predatory birds
but also for large fish and other aquatic hunters, including
fish-eating birds such as herons. Ducks' nests are raided by land-based
predators, and brooding females may be caught unaware on the nest by
mammals, such as foxes, or large birds, such as hawks or owls. Female
mallards nest on the ground and "freeze" when predators approach, to
help camouflage the nesting site.
Adult ducks are fast fliers, but may be caught on the water by large
aquatic predators including big fish such as the North American muskie
and the European pike. In flight, ducks are safe from all but a few
predators such as humans and the peregrine falcon, which regularly uses
its speed and strength to catch ducks.
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