When it comes to tail-wagging, dogs are the first that comes to mind. But it is likely that ducks are also well-known for their tail-wagging activity. But do you know Why Ducks Wag Their Tails?
Ducks are definitely cute birds and everyone is literally fond of it. They are admired by the people due to various reasons. Ducks are one of the largest found species and are able to adjust to any circumstances or surroundings.
Moreover, their tail wagging is also an activity loved by everyone and catches attention. But it depicts much more than just a lovely sight. It might be a way for ducks to communicate and share their feelings about certain things.
5 Popular Reasons Ducks Wag Their Tails
The shaking of the tail in a duck might be the cause of many possible reasons. Here let’s understand some of the possible reasons why ducks wiggle their tail feathers
1. They Might be Feeling Excited
If a duck starts wagging its tail, it might be showing excitement for certain things. There might be many reasons for the duck’s excitement that may lead to tail wagging. A possible reason may be they had enough food and are full now. A duck starts wagging its tail after having quality food.
Moreover, it has also been noticed that ducks may wag their tails after having a nice drink. However, their tail-wagging activity may also be a representation of their good moods.
Also, when a duck suddenly sees a familiar or friendly face, it may lead to excitement and that may lead to ducktail wagging. Duck also gets excited by seeing a person who feeds them on a regular basis.
2. They Might be Mating
Mating basically refers to the process of coupling. If you see a male duck suddenly start shaking its tail like crazy, you may feel like there is some severe issue. But if you will realise it closely, there might be a female duck in the surrounding area and the male duck is trying to impress her with this activity.
3. Wetting Process
Ducks are basically water creatures. They enjoy swimming and spend most of their time doing this activity. Getting wet is very important for them to keep their glands well.
But they can’t remain wet every now and then. After their swimming sessions, they need to dry their body and for this, they often wag their tails. The duck shakes its body as well as wags the tail to drain out the excess water from the body, after swimming. It may help to get their body free from moisture very fast.
4. It is their Walking process
The duck usually walks by taking little steps and in a clumsy swaying motion. Their walking style is basically known as waddling. The ducks walk like this because of their size and body structure. To balance their body while walking, the ducks seem to wag their tail.
But here they are not necessarily shaking their tails, it is just looking like that. The waddling process to walk is not applicable to all species of ducks.
5. Ducks Might be Communicating
Each animal and bird has their unique way of communicating to show its feelings to others. All the animals whether domesticated or wild adopt some sense of communication through their activities. And when it comes to ducks, they also communicate. Usually, it has been noticed that the ducks communicate by wagging their tails.
The pet ducks show their different feelings to their owners by wagging their tails. It may be the depiction of their happiness, excitement, and appreciation towards owners for an interesting treat or drink.
Also, they might be depicting their accomplishment feeling. However, the ducks might be seen wagging their tails after accomplishing a challenging task such as jumping over a short wall etc.
These all are the possible answers to the question “What Does it Mean When a Duck Wags Its Tail”. There might be some other reasons too, according to the situation.
Reason for Muscovy Ducks Wagging Their Tails
So, why do muscovy ducks wag their tails? They along with some other ducks come under friendly duck species. They usually wag their tails when they are happy and that might depict their positive gesture. Also, these cute duck species wag their tails to show their good moods.
Wild Ducks Wag Their Tails; Why
Usually, the ducks that come under the wild category wag their tail to cool down from stressful conditions. They might have slightly escaped from a predator or run from a threatful surrounding. In this situation, they wag their tails to get relaxed from the stressful situation and control their emotions.
Why Do Ducks Have Tail Feathers?
The males of most duck breeds are known to have more attractive feathers and markings. They also have different colours in their feathers. Whereas, most of the males of duck breeds that have very little or even no sexual dimorphism, have curly tail feathers.
Ducks usually shake their tail feathers to show their excitement as well as happiness. Also, they might wag their tail feathers as a drying process after swimming.
Explanation Of Female Ducks Wagging Its Tail
Here let’s dig a little about why female ducks wag their tails. Where a male duck wags its tail to woo a female duck in order to initiate the coupling process. The female duck can also be seen wagging their tails at the time of breeding. But males are likely to perform this activity to get the attention of a female partner.
It actually does not give any guarantee that the ducks are ready to mate. But it is just the initiation that is followed by some other activities to accomplish the mating process.
How Can You Tell If A Duck Is Happy?
Usually, when the ducks want to show their happiness, they bob their heads up and down and start quacking repeatedly in a high-pitched tone.
Moreover, if you think, when ducks wag their tail they are happy, then the answer is yes. Ducks mostly used to wiggle their tail to show excitement and happiness in their behaviour.
Sounds Ducks Make When Excited, Hungry, Courting, Or Frightened
Ducks mostly remain quiet during their process of swimming or foraging for food. But they make certain sounds when they get frightened, courting, hungry or excited. During these situations, they usually make sounds such as:
Hoot, Sigh, Groan, Squeak, Grunt, Whistle, Croak, Growl, Hiss, Bark, and Purr.
When ducks wag their tails, they often engage in other behaviour. This is especially true when they are happy.
1. Head Bobbing And Excited Quacking
Usually, when the ducks get happy due to certain situations, they start to bob their heads and make the sound of quack-quack in excitement. Most of the time, ducks become happy and get excited after having their favourite meal, they find their pool clean or they have seen each other after a long separation.
2. Sideways Head Bobbing
This may be a sign of the duck’s bossy behaviour, usually seen in the female duck. She could be trying to control other female ducks or her ducklings by bobbing her head sideways.
3. Blowing Bubbles In The Water
At times, ducks may be seen sticking their faces in the water and exhaling it forcibly. This is just the normal grooming process of ducks in which they try to clean their nostrils. The ducks blow bubbles in the water to expel dirt from their nostrils.
4. Head Tilting
The head-tilting behaviour of ducks usually shows their curiosity. They might be watching for any sort of danger in the surrounding area.
5. Walk Or Swimming In A Line
Ducks usually do the activities of walking and swimming by making a line. This is due to some safety reasons. The lead duck focuses and guides the other ducks and all the ducks behind simply follow him or her.
6. Sleeping With One Eye Open
The brain of ducks is divided into 2 independent halves. The 1st half is controlled by 1 eye and the other half is controlled by another eye. They kept 1 eye open while sleeping to keep their 1 brain awake and watch for any danger.
7. Digging Holes In Puddles
The ducks usually dig holes into the mud puddles to forage for food. So, it is very common to find holes around the duck’s bill.
8. Preening After Swimming
Preening after swimming is common in ducks to keep their peening glands warm and dry. In their preening process, they rub heads all over the body.
9. Going Bottom Ups In Water
Ducks usually do this activity in order to search for plants, bugs, or fish down in the water to eat. This activity is commonly called the bum-bobbing behaviour of the duck.
Ducks often show their excitement and affection by shivering. A tamed duck usually shivers to grant some attention from the owner.
11. Guarding Or Not Leaving The Nest
When a female duck is in its breeding season, they don’t want to leave their nest or hang around. They like to spend time sitting on the nest and guarding their eggs.
12. Running Away Or Shying To Contact
Usually, to avoid any stressful conditions, the ducks run away and avoid human interactions. It might depict that they are afraid of you or had some bad experience with humans in the past.
Mostly, ducks are social. But at times they may also shun any member of the group. When the duck shuns another duck, they chase them and often bites. They don’t like it if the treats get offered to them.
14. Excessive Preening
Excessive preening might be a sign of some skin problems in ducks. It shows that they are developing reactions against anything, maybe in the food or in the surrounding. It is an alarming sign and one should immediately take the duck to the vet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Do Muscovy ducks like to be petted?
Ans. These ducks are mostly social, curious and intelligent. But, generally, they don’t like to be petted or cuddled much.
Q2. Do ducks show affection?
Ans. After the ducks get matured, they start showing their affectionate behaviour. For this, they nibble at your toes or fingers.
Q3. How can you tell if a duck is angry?
Ans. When the ducks become angry, they usually show their aggression by sticking out their necks and running straight towards their target.
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