Duck body language?

Duckchick2011

Songster
8 Years
Apr 17, 2011
761
27
138
Louisiana
Lately I've been noticing a difference in my ducks' behavior.
It started with this one female kind of bowing and ducking her head repeatedly, all the while making a "hauk hauk" sound, then the my pekin female started making the same sound...then this morning I noticed my two male ducks kind of posturing at each other, standing real tall and staring each other down and every now and then the male mallard would start snaking around the other ducks with his head low...

...its all definitely new and obvious behavior and I'm just kinda wondering whats going on in their little adolescent ducky heads?

Thanks for any and all replies,

Duckchick
 
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Oddyse

Songster
8 Years
May 21, 2011
300
4
101
Bristol
Excellent topic to start! This one will drum up loads of replys! Unfortunately I cant help you, I have witnessed all these behaviours but im none the wiser either. Not long before some of the regular experts
come along and help you out.
 

Duckchick2011

Songster
8 Years
Apr 17, 2011
761
27
138
Louisiana
Oh, and I also noticed the males were also doing a lot more preening than usual, and when the female does the whole head bobbing thing she kind slides her bill to the side of her neck...its a very distinctive movement...maybe I could get it on camera....overall it seem to be only one of the mallard females doing this...the pekin just kinda imitates the noise she makes...the other female seems disinterested....

Any answers at all would be appreciated really
 

desertdarlene

Crowing
9 Years
Aug 4, 2010
4,489
104
283
San Diego
This sounds like breeding behavior. Females do the sideways head bob at the males they like and males do the honk-whistle thing to show off for the females. This is the time of year that this is most common. Females also do a loud "laughing quack" to call for males.
 

Duckchick2011

Songster
8 Years
Apr 17, 2011
761
27
138
Louisiana
Breeding behavior? Wow...I guess I was sorta still seeing them as babies. I mean the two males have just recently grown in their breeding plumage...but I didn't really expect any kind of breeding displays till next spring...I mean...do ducks really breed this time of year or is it more of an early courtship thing....
 
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Duckchick2011

Songster
8 Years
Apr 17, 2011
761
27
138
Louisiana
They only lay in the spring and summer soooo, I guess I kinda concluded that they would only breed during the spring and summer...I mean what would be the purpose of them breeding if it wasn't to produce more ducks...you know
 

gryeyes

Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers
10 Years
Sep 22, 2009
15,506
384
358
My slice of heaven in Somerset, CA
The head bobbing is the hen's flirting, courtship behavior, like "Hey there, big boy, I think you're just a burnin' hunk o' duck!"

The snaky neck action CAN be "fighting" or it can also be courtship (between male & female).

The staring is definitely male challenging another male.

The courtship and challenge behavior are year round, not just breeding times. But they may be more pronounced during breeding periods.
 

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