The Parts of a Duck

Every part of a duck has a purpose.
Every part of a duck has a purpose. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

You might hear a group of ducks quacking, but ducks are docile creatures that don't often disturb other animals. They also are examples of evolutionary adaptation. Each part of a duck is suited for a purpose, from its wings and head to its feathers and tail.


A duck has great vision and can see 360 degrees with two eyes on both sides of its head. A duck has no tear ducts though, so it must moisten its eyes by bathing.

Bill and Nostrils

The duck's wide bill allows it to dredge soil in an aquatic environment. It also enables it to find insects and drink water with ease.The bill has a layer of keratin, which is replenished continually. A duck's nostrils, located on the bill near its head, allow it to find food without having to hold its breath underwater.

Tail and Wings

Tail markings of a duck are indications of its gender. Curly tail feathers indicate a male duck while straight trail feathers represent a female. The wings of a duck are designed perfectly to fly long distances. These wings are strong and aerodynamic.


Feathers on a duck are kept in place by constant maintenance. A duck secretes oil from a gland by its tail, and coats its feathers with the oil. This helps to deflect water while swimming.The feathers also have a layer of down underneath that helps insulate the duck from cold.


The feet are perhaps the most well known attribute of a duck. The webbing between the toes allows ducks to maneuver quickly through water to escape predators and find food. Duck feet have small nails on the end of every toe.

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