Do Ducks Mate For Life? [Secret Facts & Infos Revealed]


Do Ducks Mate For Life? [Secret Facts & Infos Revealed]

Are you thriving to know the life decisions a duck makes? Are you thinking of adopting a cute little baby duck but don’t know much of their secrets? Big news! You got your answer in this article.

Still not convinced? Let’s dive in.

Do ducks mate for life? To be honest, No. Ducks don’t mate for life but engage in seasonal monogamy where they pair up for each season and change their partner the next season. The male ducks follow courtship displays and compete with other males during each season.

Ducks are multi-talented birds because they can stay on the land and swim in the water. They are also good at doing shocking tricks in the water. Ducks are omnivores. They can take out many sounds like whistles, grunt, squeaks and honks. Ducks can live for up to 20 years while mallard ducks can live for up to 5 to 10 years.

Duck Mating Habits

Well, ducks follow seasonal monogamy which means they stay with the same partner for each breeding season. You will find seasonal monogamy in about 49 percent of the waterfowl species. Male ducks don’t help female ducks in raising the ducklings but they only protect the area around their females so other male ducks don’t interfere.

Duck Mating Noise

You got it right! Different ducks make different noises when they make. The sound mating is usually seen in the female Mallard duck. Most people say it’s the quacking sound produced by the duck but there are also common noises like squeaks, whistles, growls, grunts and honks.

Want to know a secret? You can even distinguish between male and female duck’s sound. A male duck has a whispery and soft noise while a female duck has a loud voice.

Duck Mating Signs

Wait for the winter season to see what mating signs duck show. That’s the season when female ducks choose their partner. The drake has to act impressive to catch the duck’s eye. Let’s see what signs are there:

Nod swimming: Both male and female ducks use this sign. The head of the duck is placed low along the surface of the water in a way as if it grazing the water. They show this gesture for a short time. Female ducks express through this that they are ready to copulate while males use this right after mating and during head-up-tail-up.

Grunt whistle: This short term sign is often shown by a group of males. The male lifts his head up as he raises out of the water and when he goes back to his normal position then he makes a grunting noise. 

Head-up-tail-up: Here is a quick step, the male pulls his tail and wings along with a whistle. Usually, it is done by a group of males.

Head bobbing: Both females and males bob their heads together and it leads them to mate. To know more about the duck courtship display watch this video.

Duck and Geese Mating

Frankly, it is possible for a duck and goose to mate. Not just this but it is possible for all ducks to mate with any other breed of the duck but one thing is for sure that the egg they will lay after that sort of mating would be infertile, means that the egg would not hatch. Even if the egg is lucky enough to hatch, the breed produced would not be a pure breed. 

For instance, a cross between two different breeds of ducks can produce a totally different breed which is called mule duck. If you want pure breed duck then you need to make the same breed to mate.

Duck Mating 10 Times a day

Want to know a dirty little secret? There was a duck named Dave who had an insatiable sex drive and so he used to mate with his female duck friends even 10 times a day. The owner reported that Dave would mate with his friend ducks named Edith, Dora and Freda too much. As a result, Dave’s penis had to be cut off because it stopped going back in. 

The owner used to give baths to Dave to avoid inflections. All antibiotics failed. The owner of Dave states that penis of ducks is only used for mating purposes and this is why Dave can pass urine easily. Although Dave still tries to mate but the penis is now too short. 

Muscovy Duck Mating

Muscovy ducks can mate up to three times a year when domesticated. Surprisingly, they can mate on the land and in the water. The clutch of a duck consists of 8 to 16 eggs that are white in color. These eggs are known to be incubated for around 35 days. 

duck mates

The place of their nesting and egg-laying is a tree hole as well as hollows of mature trees. They also nest on the ground in the vegetation near water.

Do All Ducks Mate For Life

No way, unlike geese and swans, ducks don’t mate for life but they change their nate every breeding season. The male duck doesn’t even help female ducks to raise young ones but he only protects the area from other drakes. During mating season, male ducks fight for the duck ladies and try their best to sound as good to the female ducks as possible.

When Do Ducks Mate and Lay Eggs

The mating season of ducks is known to be mid-March till early July. However, each female lays one to two eggs a day and on average they lay about 12 eggs per clutch. The female duck alone manages the incubation and raising of the ducklings and the ducklings stay for at least 2 months with their mothers.

Can a Duck Die of Loneliness

Honestly,  just like us humans, ducks also feel the need to be with someone and they get sad when lonely and isolated. They also feel grief when their loved one dies. If you are willing to keep a duck as a pet then you should get yourself at least two ducks or else it would seem like torture to the duck. Ducks are really social beings.

Do Ducks Pair For Life

By and large, ducks don’t pair for life but they engage in seasonal monogamy where they change mate every mating season. Monogamy is known to be more common in large breed ducks that lay fewer eggs. However, small ducks that produce more eggs are usually seen to be seasonal monogamy practitioners.

What Happens When a Duck Mate Dies

Alas! When a male duck dies out of a pair, the nesting will still continue because the female duck will quickly find herself a male for that season.

Duck Mating Season Mallard

So, unlike regular ducks, mallard ducks start making a pair from October and November and this pair remains together until the breeding season comes to an end which is in early March to late May. Mallard drake has a green colored head and a white-colored band around their necks. Female mallard ducks will have brown to tan color. 

Duck Mating Patterns

Can I be honest with you? Basically there are three types of breeding patterns observed among ducks. Let’s have a look!

Seasonal monogamy: Here, ducks stay with the same mate for the whole breeding season but don’t choose the same partner in the next breeding season. The male duck protects the area around the female duck so outsider male ducks don’t intrude, but the female is the only one that raises the young ones.

Polygamy: Besides seasonal monogamy, polygamy is observed among waterfowl. This behavior is uncommon and only 7 percent of waterfowl species exhibit it. In this, males defend their territories which attract other ducks and they visit that specific territory while the male duck mates with several of them. The pair bond in this behaviour is either weak or not properly formed.

This behavior is mostly seen among musk duck, ruddy duck, maccoa duck and comb duck respectively. 

Pairs return to their previous breeding territory & reunite:

Wham! This happens between sea ducks usually that don’t form a bond even after two years of life. They go back to their previous wintering grounds or breeding territory to find the previous partner to reunite with. However, pairing is most likely to occur between harlequin ducks, long-tailed ducks and buffleheads. This love story made me emotional! 

Do Wood Ducks Mate For Life

No, just like other ducks, wood ducks don’t mate for life either. They choose their partner every year during the breeding season and males go through courtship displays and compete with other males to reach desired female duck. Watch this video to understand.

Do Pekin Ducks Mate For Life

Pekin ducks are the most popular pets in the United States, just like other small ducks don’t mate for life but form seasonal monogamous pairs. Pekin ducks sometimes even refuse to brood their own eggs so the owners need to be prepared to incubate the eggs one way or the other. Pet Pekin ducks once grow, they need to have enough space and sufficient healthcare to be well kept.

Related Articles: What is a Group of Ducks Called?

Do Mandarin Ducks Mate For Life

Just like other small ducks, Mandarin ducks don’t mate for life either but on that, the male ducks leave their female ducks when the ducklings arrive out of the egg and so the poor female duck alone has to look after nine to twelve ducklings.

Final Verdict

I hope now you know all the information on do ducks mate for life. Unlike swans and geese, ducks don’t mate for life but they form new pairs in every mating season. It is rarely seen that the ducks show polygamous behavior or go back to their previous mating area to find a previous partner. Male ducks need to compete with other males and involve in courtship displays to attract female ducks. Ducks can even mate in water. If you liked this article let’s share further.

Roland Carroll

Hi, This is Roland. I love Hunting and it's my hobby. I love to share my hunting experience in this blog. Keep reading all the articles here and let me know what do you think about this site.

Recent Content