Duck is the common name for a number of species in the Anatidae family of birds.
The ducks are divided between several subfamilies. Ducks are mostly aquatic birds, mostly smaller than their relatives the swans and geese, and may be found in both fresh water and sea water.
Most ducks have a wide flat beak adapted for dredging. They exploit a wide variety of food sources such as grasses, aquatic plants, insects, small amphibians, worms and small molluscs.
Ducks are sometimes confused with several types of unrelated water birds with similar forms, such as loons and divers.
Many species of duck are temporarily flightless while moulting. This moult typically precedes migration.
Diving ducks and sea ducks feed on the surface of water or on land, or as deep as they can reach by up ending without completely submerging. Along the inside of the beak they have tiny rows of plates called “lamellae” like a whale’s baleen. These let them filter water out of the side of their beaks and keep food inside.
A “duckling” is a young or baby duck.
Ducks have many economic uses, being farmed for their meat, eggs, feathers, (particularly their down).
All domestic ducks are descended from the Wild Mallard.