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Animals and birds can not speak. However, it is believed that they communicate and express themselves through their body movements.
They can wag their tails, do a little dance, spit a meatball, and what not to express their moods or needs.
To be more specific, most of these unusual body movements are “actually” considered a mating call or a happy mood/annoyance.
Though we have figured out the purpose of most of the birds or animals’ unusual movements, one remains a mystery.
That’s a duck bobbing its head. It is probably because this unusual body movement is often overlooked considering a duck is happy.
There might be more than just being happy. Here are the reasons why ducks bob their heads;
Why Do Ducks Bob their Heads?
It has been observed that ducks either bob their head up and down or from side to side. The ducks bob their head up and down for a different reason and from side to side for another purpose.
The ducks bob their heads up and down usually in the mating season that stretches from December to March.
It is somewhat an invitation to mate. Here are the reasons why ducks bob their head up and down most of the time;
- Express they are interested in courtship
- Attract a mate
It’s quite hard to believe that ducks are “very” flirty. Let alone flirting with each other, ducks do not even spare a chance of flirting with humans as well.
Frankly, they do not just bob their head but do a lot more when flirting. To be more specific, they shake their heads and tails, flick water, swim with their head outstretched, and bob their heads while flirting with the opposite sex.
Express they are interested in courtship
The birds and animals’ world is just as complicated as ours. Finding a mate and attracting them for courtship is not as easy as it appears.
The males have to do a lot to be the best candidate and get the female’s attention. Sometimes, they even have to fight to gain mating rights.
When a male duck is successful in attracting a female or when the female is interested, they begin expressing it by bobbing their heads.
Other than that when a male gets attracted to a female, he bobs his head as well.
Attract a mate
When a male duck is eyeing a female, he chases and moves around bobbing his head. The male or female can do so to gain the attention of the opposite sex.
According to the Department of primary industries, When a male and females get attracted to each other, they have to give each other a green signal.
To give each other a green signal, they move around each other bobbing their heads up and down right before mating.
These were the few reasons why male and female ducks chase each other bobbing their heads in the breeding season.
They are observed doing that only in the mating season. However, they bob their heads from side to side quite often all year round.
Head Movement from Side to Side
This unusual movement of the head has a different meaning and it does not mean that the duck is happy.
Ducks usually move their head from side to side for the following reasons;
- To establish dominance
- To warn birds and animals to stay away from their nests
- To show aggressiveness
To establish dominance
Ducks have to establish dominance as well for a variety of reasons. To establish dominance, they have to bob their head from side to side, bite, and even fight fiercely.
So, it is just a tactic these waterfowls have been using to establish dominance for years.
To warn birds and animals to stay away from their nests
Most of us believe that ducks bob their head up and down to flirt, find and attract a mate. However, it has also been observed that broody ducks also bob their heads but they do it for some other reason. Usually to warn the birds and duck predators to stay away from the nest.
To show aggressiveness
Ducks are not that aggressive, it’s one of the few reasons why these waterfowls can be kept in the household (as a pet).
However, the hormonal surges can make the ducks aggressive sometimes. Bobbing heads from side and side is also a display of aggressiveness.
It must not be left uncommunicated that most of this unusual head movement is taken as a sign of happiness.
For the record, ducks never bob their heads when they are happy. Ducks quack repeatedly in a high-pitched tone when happy, bob their head when aggressive, or look for a mate.
Ducks bob their heads up and down to flirt or attract a mate. Whereas, they bob it from side to side to establish dominance, show aggressiveness, and warn birds and animals to stay away from their nests.