Duck Mating & courtship

the lowdown on duck sexy time

What the duck? Trying to make sense of duck mating and courtship?

We’ve lived with ducks for over 10 years. Here’s a quick primer:

Disclaimer: This info doesn’t apply to ALL duck species, just Mallards and domestic Mallard-derived breeds…

Duck love isn’t always binary.

#1. So much love to give

Our girls frolic and bond with each other as readily as they do with a male.

Our male (drake) is even less discriminating and will often mate with the pond pipe.  Mi amor!

Only a male + female mating will produce a fertilized egg. (Yes, you can still eat it)

Ducks do NOT mate for life (although our domestic ducks will show strong life-long preferences)

#2. Switching it up

Ducks (esp. wild) are seasonally monogamous, pairing up for a single mating season but NOT typically for life.

Ducks aren’t always “in the mood.” Fancy a cuddle instead?

#3. Not tonight dear...

Just as with wild Mallards, domestic ducks only get those loving feelings in the warm months with long daylight hours.

Ducks have different plumage throughout the year. Males’ showy NUPTIAL plumage is intended to attract & keep a mate.

Their ECLIPSE plumage occurs outside of mating season in order to provide predator camouflage.

Wild ducks mate from spring through early summer. Domestic duck mating season can be much longer.

“Head bobbing” - Both sexes will headbob next to each other to indicate a desire to mate.

#4. Down to business...

“Flat backing” - The bottom duck will then flatten out in order to provide a sturdy platform for the top duck to jump aboard.

Neck/head grabbing - The top duck then uses their bill to grab hold of the bottom duck via the back of their head and neck as mating initiates.

Side note: If you pet your duck on the back of their neck or head, they might have a different interpretation of your affection than you do.

“Whistle grunt” - Immediately after the deed is done, males often lower their heads, take a victory lap, and issue forth a whistle-grunt sound.

No your male duck isn’t dying - that’s his penis.

#5. What is THAT??!!

Only 3% of bird species have penises, but ducks have some of the longest penises in the animal kingdom.

After mating, a drake’s penis can take a few minutes to retract. If you’ve never seen one before, this might be a frightful experience for you.

Duck libido doesn’t slow down much with age. We have 10-year-old ducks that still act like hormonal teens.

#6. Teenage libido

If you have backyard ducks, make sure they have a pond to mate in to prevent foot or leg injuries.

#7. Practice safe sex!

Click the link below! 

Yes, ducks are... amazing. 😬Want to dive deeper into duck mating & courtship? Bring your cute self on over... 😉

And, be sure to check out all of our other duck content while you're there!