Duck Opening and Closing Mouth

Why is My Duck Opening and Closing Mouth?

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Unfortunately, the animals and birds can not speak. They have to express their pain and happiness through gestures and sounds that they can make.

The pain and a good mood can be judged easily. However, what exactly has boosted the mood or caused the pain is the hardest to figure out. 

Though I have been studying birds and animal behavior for some time, a duck’s strange habit came to my notice lately.

It’s opening and closing the mouth repeatedly. My curiosity led me to research and I was surprised to know that the ducks open and close their mouths for a reason.

Why Do Ducks Open and Close their Mouths Repeatedly?

For the record, the ducks open and close their mouths repeatedly to breathe. The ducks breathe this way when they are

  • Trying to cool down their body system in summers
  • Pretty stressed out
  • Suffering from respiratory issues
  • Dehydrated
  • Have stuffed nostrils 

Trying to cool down their body system in summers

Ducks do not do well in hot weather. The summers go hard on ducks because the heat and humidity activate the stress mechanism.

Thick feathers and not having sweat glands sprinkle salt to the wounds. Therefore in extremely hot weather when the internal heat can not release the body, the ducks open and close their mouths to breathe and cool down the body system.

Pretty stressed

Food scarcity, sudden weather changes, and predator attacks get these aquatic birds pretty stressed out. Another sign is ducks stressed or crying and wagging their tails.

Therefore, it does not matter what causes the stress, ducks start panting/opening and closing their mouth repeatedly or breathing rapidly. 

Suffering from respiratory issues

Respiratory infections and other issues can also cause the duck to breathe heavily by opening and closing the mouth repeatedly.

It’s easier to identify whether the respiratory issues have been making the duck breathe this way.

If the ducks are bobbing their tails with each breath, the aquatic is usually opening and closing its mouth due to respiratory issues.


Ducks need at least one liter of fresh water every day to stay sane and healthy. If ducks do not get enough water every day, they can easily get dehydrated.

Dehydration does not just leave the duck panting but can cause several other issues as well. To be more specific, a duck breathing by opening and closing its mouth is the first symptom of dehydration.

If the issue remains unbothered, it can lead to pale combs, diarrhea, lethargy, limpness, unresponsiveness, and seizures. Learn Do Ducks Make Nests?


To be honest, dehydration and respiratory infections are not the only health issues that lead to panting/labored breathing or opening and closing the mouth repeatedly.

Every serious health issue makes these aquatic birds open and closes their mouths to breathe.

Stuffed nostrils

Like all mammals, ducks breathe through their nostrils. If their nostrils get stuffed with scratches, bubbles, discharge, or general crustiness, the ducks can not breathe normally. Therefore they start opening and closing their mouths repeatedly to breathe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my duck breathing with its mouth open?

Ducks can breathe with mouths open when they are stressed, dehydrated, sick, have respiratory issues, and stuffed nostrils.

Why does it look like my ducks are panting?

It looks somewhat like a duck opening and closing it’s mouth repeatedly. 

Can dehydration cause a duck to open and close its mouth repeatedly?

Yes, ducks need one litre of fresh water to remain sane and healthy. If these aquatic birds do not get enough water in summer, they get dehydrated and start opening and closing their mouths repeatedly.

What should I do when my duck opens and closes its mouth repeatedly?

Most of the time ducks open and close their mouths repeatedly due to dehydration, stress, or hot weather. Therefore, arranging freshwater would help in calming the ducks down.

What “really” causes ducks to breathe abnormally?

Unfortunately, there is no one cause. Several issues can make the duck breathe abnormally. These issues can be a weather change, stuffed nostrils, stress, dehydration, and respiratory issues.

Is a duck opening and closing its mouth repeatedly a serious issue?

Yes, it’s an alarming situation. If this condition is not bothered, you may have to say goodbye to your pet duck forever.


In brief, ducks can open and close their mouth repeatedly when they are stressed, sick, dehydrated, have respiratory issues, or their nostrils are stuffed due to scratches, bubbles, discharge, or general crustiness.

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