The duck is a number of species in the Anatidae family of birds. They are related to swans and geese.
Ducks are mostly aquatic birds living in both fresh water and sea water and found on every continent except for Antarctica.
A male duck is called a drake, a female duck a hen, and a baby duck a duckling.
Ducks are omnivores. They feed on aquatic plants, small fish, insects, worms, grubs and more. People often feed domesticated ducks bread.
Diving ducks and sea ducks search for food fairly deep underwater. To be able to stay underwater more easily, diving ducks are quite heavy.
Dabbling ducks feed on the surface of water, on land, or by ducking their head underwater. Along the edge of their beak is a comb-like structure called a pecten, that enables them to hold slippery food and filter nutrients out of the water.
A common urban legend is that a ducks quack does not echo. This has however, been proven to be false.
Ducks are curious and friendly creatures they have been domesticated as pets and farm animals for more than 500 years. All domestic ducks are descended from either the Mallard or the Muscovy duck.
The most common and recognised species of duck is the Mallard or Wild duck. It is a dabbling duck that lives in the Americas, Europe, Asia, North Africa, and has been introduced to New Zealand and Australia.
The male Mallard has a glossy green head, grey wings and belly, while the female has a brown-speckled plumage. Mallard ducks have a moulting season, they are vulnerable during this time as the moulting stops them flying.
Mallard ducks live 5 to 10 years in the wild and 8+ years in captivity.
Paradise Shelducks of New Zealand often have one mating partner for life.
All ducks have highly waterproof feathers due to the feathers interlocking nature and waxy coating.
Ducks have many economic uses. Their feathers, particularly their underlying 'down' feathers, are used in many products, while the white Pekin duck is the most common variety raised for eggs and meat.
Ducks have featured as popular cartoon characters over the years, such as Walt Disney's Donald Duck and Warner Brothers, Daffy Duck.