Guide to Different Types of Ducks
Although many children identify this fowl simply as a barnyard animal, there are many different types of ducks that live in the wild. In fact, some species are those which the majority of people do not even associate with the genre of ducks.
There is great interest in the world in ducks, although for varying reasons. Hunting wild duck is a popular hobby among hunting enthusiasts. The activity is not only enjoyed for the sport of shooting but also to provide food for the table. Shooting ducks takes on an entirely different scope when the weapon is a camera; numerous birding enthusiasts can attest to the fact that no greater beauty can be found than in the lift into flight by a mallard duck from the smooth surface of a beautiful, remote lake. Attracting these winged birds in either sport is a simple matter using duck calls; devices that mimic the sound of different types of ducks which serve to attract additional members of the species. Still other individuals enjoy these feathered creatures just for their beauty and interesting nature. It is due to the fact that there are so many varieties of ducks that so many diverse purposes for them exist.
Ducks are members of the Anatidae family, along with the notable company of such birds as swans and geese. Even though definite distinctions separate the different species within the family, they also share many of the same characteristics. The general appearance of the ducks within the genus includes stout, rather small body styles, short bills and webbed feet. Many of the species are known to be largely monogamous, although some will change mates from year to year. Some of the birds can be fiercely territorial of the areas in which they live, while yet others form communities called “colonies”. Migration to warmer regions as the winter weather approaches is a common habit of some species, though certain cold hardy species winter over quite well.
Among the family Anatidae, there are several different types of ducks, swans and geese. Ducks are often categorized according to their taxonomy. Dabbling ducks, diving ducks and whistling ducks are subfamilies whose names describe the characteristics of the birds.
- Dabbling ducks. This category of birds gets their food by “dabbling” in shallow waters. They can be found near marshy areas and rivers. While they have the ability to dive well, they are content to dip their short beaks into the water; swishing them quickly to and fro to capture food. From time to time, the ducks can be seen performing a curious act; leaning forward in the water to such an extent that the only thing visible above the water line is their tail feathers. This action is called “tipping”; another method of gathering food that is underwater. Mallards, shovelers and teal ducks are among the dabblers.
- Whistling ducks. True to the name assigned to this category of bird, a distinct whistling call is the prominent calling card of the whistlers. Taller than the other species, whistling ducks exhibit long necks and legs and spend a great deal of time flying within tropical and subtropical areas.
Whether it is hunting, birding or domestic use that is appeals to an individual, knowing the different types of ducks, their characteristics and their habits can be beneficial, especially to those who think only of the barnyard duck.