Ducks live near rivers, lakes, and oceans; in muddy, tropical lowlands; and in prairie and mountain marshes. Every winter, flocks of ducks fly thousands of miles south from the Arctic Oceans to places where the water rarely freezes, like Laurel Lake.
Most ducks are good to eat, and some taste like fish. Farmers raise most of the ducks that man eats, but many wild ducks are also killed for food.
Ducks spend most of the time in the water, and their webbed feet make them fine swimmers. Their thin legs are far back on their bodies, and the feet serve as paddles. Ducks spread their three toes and stretch out the webbing when they swim. But legs and feet, which help ducks swim easily, make it hard forthem to walk. The birds waddle clumsily on land.
Most drakes have bright-colored feathers in simple patterns. Their colors include: green, chestnut, blue, black, white, and shiny, rainbow-colored patches.The female is plainly colored, and can easily hide when she is incubating eggsor taking care of her ducklings.
Most diving ducks are heavier than those that stay on the surface. Most common wild ducks weigh from 2 to 4 pounds, but some small ones weigh less than 1 pound.
Ducks seek mates at their winter feeding places. The bright colors of the drakeshelp make them attractive to the females. At the breeding grounds, each male has its own territory, generally a small pond. The drakes drive away other males or other pairs of their species. When the ducks migrate north in the spring, the male usually follows the female, and they fly to a marsh near the place she was born.
The female makes a nest in a clump of grass, a hollow, or a hole in a tree. She lays from 5 to 12 eggs. After the female starts to sit on her eggs, the drake wanders off by himself. The ducklings are born from three weeks to a month later.