Duck, Mama, Chicks, Sweet, Cute, Bill

We all are familiar with ducks. They should not be confused with the large birds like the swans and geese. Ducks are small aquatic birds inhabiting both fresh and sea waters. Ducks are sometimes confused with grebes and coots. Baby ducks are called as ducklings but in food trade the adult ducks that are prepared to undergo roasting are called as ducklings.
Body of a duck is broad and elongated with long and flexible neck like that of birds. The body shape of the diving ducks is somewhat curved in shape. Bill or beak is somewhat broad and covered with serrated lamellae adapted for filter feeding. The bill is long and strongly serrated from the fishing species. Legs are supplied with scales and are placed somewhat on the back side of the body. Wings are strong, short and pointed and the flight in ducks is made up of fast continuous strokes that require rapid movement of the flight muscles. Three species of the streamer ducks are completely flightless. Many species remain temporarily flightless during moulting and in this period they require good food supply and protective areas to hide.
Paradise Shelduck of New Zealand shows well developed sexual dimorphism where the plumage of female is very much bright compared to that of male. Plumage of ducklings generally resembles with that of the female. Ducks prefer to feed on a wide array of food sources like grasses, insects, fish, aquatic plants, small amphibians, worms and other molluscs. Diving ducks and the sea ducks forage underwater. Body of diving ducks is somewhat heavier than the dabbling ducks so they are unable to fly. Dabbling ducks feed on the materials present on the surface of water of they catch food on land. In the edge of the beak there’s a comb-like structure known as pecten. It behaves like strainer and assists in food capture. Pecten is also used in preening.
Some species like smew and the goosanders have the ability to catch and swallow huge fishes. Other species have flat beaks for pulling up waterweed, yanking sand and smaller molluscs, insects and other worms. Ducks are monogamous and this bond continues for one year only. Larger and more sedentary species have long lasting pair bonds. Most species have a tendency to breed once in year under favourable conditions. The sound produced by ducks is called quacking and it’s known that the females of most dabbling species quack. Diving ducks scaup. Ducks have a wide assortment of calls like whistle cooing, yodels and grunt. Calls may be loud or quite contact calls.
They are cosmopolitan in distribution occurring in all parts of the world except Antarctica. Some species are found to inhabit sub-Antarctic islands such as South Georgia and Auckland Islands. Few species are also noticed to occupy the oceanic islands while few are threatened or have become extinct. Some species are migratory particularly those belonging to the Arctic Northern Hemisphere. Tropical species do not migrate in any way. Australian duck species form loose spots during the rainy season. Many animals predate upon ducks. The ducklings are very vulnerable to be attacked by predators. Foxes, eagles, crocodiles are common enemies of ducks. Although the adult ducks are strong fliers but can be captured by their enemies on the surface of water and on land. Ducks share lots of economic uses.
They’re farmed for meat, eggs and feathers. They are kept and bred by the aviculturists and are also displayed in zoos. Wild ducks are also consumed as food in many parts of world. Ducks are also a component of fiction like the Donald Duck which is a famous cartoon character and appeared in Walt Disney for the first time in 1934.
Ducks are cute animals making our environment beautiful.

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