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Ducks are known as aquatic birds or waterfowls. Despite being categorized as birds, they are nearly flightless and are super dissimilar to regular birds. Have you ever wondered what makes the ducks a bird? And do they not have feathers as they are incapable of taking a flight? Well, if these kinds of questions brought you here, allow us to reveal the mystery to you.
Do ducks have feathers?
Yes for the record, ducks have feathers. In fact, the other fellow waterfowls also happen to have feathers. Duck feathers are a sight for sore eyes as their feathers are waterproof, bright, colorful.
Why Do Ducks Have Feathers?
As now our readers know that ducks do not have fur, they have feathers, a question “why do ducks have feathers?” might have been raised in their minds. As whenever a mystery is revealed to us we often find ourselves questioning, if it is so, why is it so? Don’t we?
Frankly, ducks have been blessed with feathers for a variety of legitimate reasons. If they had fur or hair we have no clue how they would have survived. The reasons why ducks have been blessed with feathers are;
- Ducks have feathers because they are classified as birds
- Ducks have feathers to fly
- Ducks have feathers to assist them in migration
- Ducks have feathers to protect them from harsh weather conditions
- Ducks have feathers to assist them in finding a mate
Ducks have feathers because they are classified as birds
Ducks, geese, and swans are all classified as waterfowls, aquatic birds, or simply birds. If we try to judge the situation from this point of view, ducks can not have fur or hair but feathers.
If all birds have been blessed with feathers, how would these aquatic birds be deprived of that?
Ducks have feathers to fly
It’s pretty obvious that all birds are blessed with feathers to fly and they use their feathers for the same purpose.
Though most duck breeds have lost their ability to fly yet domestic mallards, calls, indies, muscovies, and some other breeds use these feathers to fly.
Ducks have feathers to assist them in migration
Ducks, geese, and swans are all migratory birds. Ducks prefer living in the areas that are warmer for some legitimate reasons even though they have a nice thick layer of body fat and waterproof feathers to survive winters. The reasons why they have to migrate all the time are;
- Food; they can not find food when everything is covered with snow
- Breed; in the breeding season they have to move to a warmer area to breed and lay eggs. As the baby ducklings hardly have feathers on their bodies, it’s nearly impossible for them to survive such harsh living conditions.
So to live in a warm environment, find food, breed, and lay eggs they keep on migrating all their life from colder to warmer areas. The ducks migrate in flocks, the flock flies in V shape. The V shape helps these big aquatic birds to pull their body weight easily.
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Ducks have feathers to protect them from harsh weather conditions
Since birds and animals can put on layers of clothes to survive winters, they have been given fur and feathers to protect themselves.
Ducks might have lost their ability to fly but their feathers are not useless anyway.
They may not be supporting the flight but these feathers have been protecting them from the cold and harsh weather conditions.
Ducks have feathers to assist them in finding a mate
What’s even more surprising about feathers is that they assist ducks in finding a mate.
The ducks either swim rapidly or spread their feathers to show that they are interested in courtship and have been looking for a mate.
Now that we have got the idea that like every bird out there even ducks have feathers and they use them to migrate, fly, attract a mate, and protect themselves from harsh weather conditions. Let’s wind up today’s discussion with some worth-knowing facts about the duck feathers;
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Duck Feathers Have Types
It might come as a surprise to you that duck feathers have types. The type of feathers we have found on the duck’s body is;
- Contour feather
- Down feather
- Filoplumes feathers
- Semiplumes feathers
The outermost feather that covers the duck’s wings, tail, and the rest of the body is known as contour feather.
The contour feathers have different colors and shapes, it usually distinguishes one breed from other breeds.
The contour feathers have well-developed shafts, barbs, tiny barbules, and a hackle feather.
The down feathers are the easiest ones to spot on a duck. The first fine layer of feathers on the duck’s body is known as the down feathers.
To be more specific, down feathers are the feathers that cover the tough exterior feathers.
The down feathers are quite useful as they do not just cover the body but also trap the air and protect the ducks against heat loss.
The stiff hair-like feathers appearing at the base of contour feathers are known as filoplumes.
The filoplumes feathers lack the feather muscle however they have a few countable soft barbs near the tip.
Semiplumes feathers are found hiding under the contour feathers. Their job is to cover and provide extra insulation to the bird’s body.
Moreover, Semiplumes feathers are the part of the duck’s body that assists in maintaining the appearance of these aquatic birds.
Ducks replace their worn out and broken feathers at least twice a year
Feathers are super delicate even if they appear strong. They can get broken or worn out quite easily, however the ducks replace these broken and worn out feathers themselves.
The whole process of replacing the old broken or worn-out feather is called molting. The duck’s feathers remain in top condition as these aquatic birds replace their feathers at least twice a year.
- The structure and properties of down feathers and their use in the outdoor industry
- Researchers learn how swimming ducks balance water pressure in their feathers while diving