• Diving ducks have small wings and must paddle along the water to pick up speed to take off. Their wings are so small that they can’t take off from land. • Dabbling ducks have larger wings and can take off straight up. • Ducks can see and hear better than humans. But their senses of smell and taste are poor. • Ducks have two layers of feathers. The thick top layer helps the duck fly. Under that layer is the fluffy down. • Ducks also have a special gland that produces oil, which they rub through their feathers using their bill. This is called preening. If ducks could not preen, their feathers would get soaked with water and they couldn’t fly well. • Ducks have webbed feet that help them swim. However, their swimming legs are not good walking legs. That’s why they waddle when they walk. • Female ducks are called hens. Males are called drakes, and babies are called ducklings.
Mallards (left) and black-necked stilt