More than 150 different species of ducks exist in our world, and they are found in the wild on every continent except Antarctica. Learn more facts about these funny creatures from latest edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids!
• The name “duck” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word duce, which means “diver.” In fact, not all ducks dive for their food. Mallards are part of a group called “dabbling ducks.” They feed on small insects and plants by tipping into shallow water, with their tails sticking up. Most barnyard, including Pekins, are “dabblers,” but mainly they just eat what the farmer feeds them—usually a mixture of corn, barley, and oats.
• A duck’s webbed feet have very little soft tissue and a unique blood-flow system that keeps the feet from freezing. Ducks can swim year-round, even in winter’s icy water. Webbed feet help ducks not only to paddle in water, but also to walk on mud and in wetlands.
• Duck Designations:
- Drake—male duck
- Hen—female duck
- Duckling—baby duck
- Raft, team, or paddling—group of ducks in water
- Brace or badling—group of ducks on the ground
- Brood—group of ducklings
- Flock—group of ducks in flight
- Sord—group of mallards in flight
• Not all ducks quack! Hens quack. Drakes seldom do. They grunt, growl, and whistle. However, because ducks are social animals, if one is raised on a farm without the company of other ducks, it will begin to mimic the animals around it—cows, dogs, even chicken!
• A duck’s eye positions allow it to have full, panoramic, 360-degree vision, without turning its head. Because of its range of vision and the fact that no more than half of its brain ever “sleeps” at the same time, a duck is usually able to detect a predator in less than a second.