How Do Ducks Mate? It’s Weirder Than You Think

Have you ever wondered, what do ducks have under there? The answer may surprise you. We don’t usually think of birds as having a penis, but male ducks do.

They may have more successful sperm transfer thanks to an external sex organ. Ducks, on the other hand, may become hostile during mating season and have a low rate of successful sperm delivery if they force a female duck to mate with them.

Ducks breed internally, unlike how birds mate externally in complete external fertilization. Males have a corkscrew-shaped penis, which is unusual. The vaginal canal of a woman is much more complex. The female has to choose between who fertilizes her eggs because of the complexity of the organs.

To find out how, keep reading.

Duck reproduction is a fascinating process. The sex of ducks is more similar to human reproduction than the sex of other birds, which many people find surprising.

Male Duck Reproductive System

Male ducks, like other animals, have testes where sperm is produced. The testes will expand significantly during mating. The sperm travels to the epididymis, a structure behind the testes that is linked to the vas deferens, after they mate.

The sperm is then carried to the urethra via the vas deferens, a tube. The sperm reaches the cloaca via the vas deferens.

Male ducks have a phallus, unlike most birds. The majority of birds fertilize their eggs externally, with cloaca rubbing being the most common method. Ducks, on the other hand, fertilize themselves via their phallus appendange and reproduce internally.

Since the transmission of sperm is more likely to be successful, internal fertilization has advantages over external fertilization. While it isn’t clear why most birds haven’t evolved to adopt this strategy, ducks have done so via internal fertilization rather than external fertilization.

What Does A Duck Penis Look Like?

A duck’s “actual penis” is a single-orgasmic organ. This organ is seen in only certain domestic birds, such as chickens, turkeys, and geese. Ducks are the only ones that have it.

When the duck’s penis isn’t erect, there is a shaft surrounding it that is visually distinctive. The penis is coiled along the cloaca’s wall, taking on a corkscrew-like shape, when it isn’t erect.

The penis is thought to gain lymph when it becomes erect, according to researchers. Unlike most mammalian species, the building is not supported by blood or muscle. The phallus of a duck bends forward, sliding away from the cloaca, when it develops an erection.

Since there is nothing to support the duck’s erection, reproduction can occur in less than a second, which happens quickly.

The sperm will travel down the penis’s corkscrew pattern as the duck gets aroused. The sperm takes the same amount of time to move through the penis as the penis does to grow.

The size of a duck’s penis is what makes it even more bizarre. In comparison to their bodies, ducks have unusually lengthy phalluses. In reality, some ducks may have a phallus that is longer than the duck’s body, and others may be even longer.

Female Duck Reproductive System

The female duck’s reproductive system is just as intricate as the male duck’s corkscrew-shaped penis. The oviduct of most birds is just a simple tube, yet unlike ducks, most birds breed via external reproduction rather than internal reproduction.

The Vaginal Tract

The vaginal canal of female ducks is not a simple tube. Instead, it rotates inside the body like a corkscrew. To make the anatomy even more complicated, it also includes various sacs and crevices.

Phalluses and vaginal tracts are found in 97% of birds. These organs are unique to only 3% of all birds, but the duck goes above and beyond. Ducks are the only ones who have such complex organs, out of the 3% of individuals who do have penises and vaginas.

According to researchers, the frequent aggression between male and female ducks led to the oddness of ducks’ reproductive systems.

Forced Copulation

Males who haven’t found a partner may join groups of other non-paired males if they haven’t settled down. The females will be chased and forced to copulate by these huge groupings.

For obvious reasons, the female duck will be severely harmed and traumatized by this behavior. She is likely to get injured and may even die as a result of her actions.

Since ducks breed in the water so often, a forced female will drown from the effort of trying to get away.

The ducks’ complicated reproductive system may be the result of forced copulation, which is not common in bird species other than waterfowl. Since females’ bodies have evolved to make the act of forced penetration difficult, it is dangerous and traumatizing for them.

The vaginal tract of a female is an anti-corkscrew, while that of a male is shaped like a corkscrew. It can be difficult to breed because their organs don’t fit together neatly. If the lady is fighting to get away, it makes it more difficult for the guy to enter her if she is a reluctant participant.

Forced breeding events account for about a third of all duck competitions. Females are usually not forced to lay their attacker’s eggs, fortunately. She may position herself in a way that prevents the guy from fully entering her.

Protection Against Aggression

In addition, the female’s vaginal tract contains side pockets and sacs that trap sperm from forced copulation. 9 out of 10 cases, this sperm ends up in one of these sacs. After that, the sperm is excreted from the body. The eggs are therefore unable to become fertilized.

Difficult copulation provides the benefit of healthier and more fit offspring in addition to the protection of females. Only the strongest and healthiest ducks with the largest phalluses are successfully able to breed, because it is so difficult to penetrate a female duck’s vaginal canal.

In contrast, a male duck will attempt to protect his mate from aggressive unattached ducks if he is paired with one. Other males will try to breed with her even if she has a mate, so it is the responsibility of her mate to drive them away.

How To Tell Males & Females Apart

Even if you’re not that familiar with waterfowl, it’s sometimes difficult to tell which ducks are male and female. Since the sexes will typically look identical, looking at their reproductive organs is not always a reliable way to differentiate between them. Males ducks have a penis that is usually concealed inside their bodies, so you won’t notice it unless they’re in the process of mating.

The sexes of most ducks are dimorphic, which means that they will look different and be different in appearance. The males of most ducks, like with other birds, are more brightly coloured than the females, thus this is a common indicator of sex. Male ducks will generally have larger bodies and heads and necks when compared to female ducks.

Some duck species, on the other hand, are not sexually dimorphic and may be more difficult to discern. To determine the sex of your puppy, you’ll need to thoroughly inspect their vent (or reproductive opening) when this is the case.

The duck’s call may sometimes be used to determine the sex. You may listen for their quack to determine their sex because females and males often sound different.

How Do Ducks Get “Pregnant”?

When the male puts his penis into the female’s oviduct, he is reproducing via internal fertilization. The sperm is delivered to her oviduct, where it may fertilize the eggs, from his testes. Once the sperm reaches the eggs, they are fertilized.

Ducks Mating Habits

When Is Mating Season For Ducks?

Depending on the species of duck and where it lives, the mating season will vary. Between December and March in North America, ducks are more likely to form bonded pairs. During the spring migration, they will do it on their wintering grounds.

Duck Mating Behavior

The male will mount the female from behind when two ducks are ready to mate. Before entering and performing copulation, he will position his penis alongside her oviduct.

As I previously stated, duck copulation can be tough due to the female’s willingness to mate, but it helps. She’ll allow the male to mount her and raise their tail feathers so that he has better access if she’s receptive to him. Once the male has been inside, she is also able to relax and contract her oviduct walls, allowing him easier penetration.

Copulation is incredibly quick because a duck’s penis cannot stay erect for long. The male’s penis will explode out of his body, into the oviduct, and release sperm in less than a second. The deed is done just like that.

How Ducks Attract a Mate

You may witness a variety of behaviors when a guy is preparing to breed with a female.


The ducks bobbing their heads up and down within close proximity of other ducks is exactly how this movement goes. This mating ritual is performed by both males and females, and it’s often the first step in duck courtship.


The male will tilt his head downward into the water and elevate his rump into the air while mating in the water. He is also able to show off his magnificent bold secondary feathers, which are normally concealed. This is a popular technique amongst groups of males to impress females.


Males are eager to display their lovely wing feathers to the females, just as they are with the “tail-up” technique. They’ll puff their chests out and showcase their wings by elevating their bodies upward until they’re standing tall.

The Grunt Whistle

A male may also arch his back while in the water, pulling his head out and making a loud whistle while followed by a grunt.

Swimming Low

Swimming low in the water with their head and neck barely touching the surface is another courtship ritual. This is done by males in order to attract a female, and it’s also done after mating as a kind of joyful dance.

This movement is performed by females in order to indicate a nearby male that they are interested in mating.


Females only adopt this mating stance, which occurs shortly after the head-bobbing dance. A female’s neck and back will stretch out as she elongates them. Her invitation for a guy to mount her is shown here.

The male will stand on the back of the female, who is lying down. To steady himself, he’ll grasp the duck’s neck from the back. The male will gain easier access by moving the female’s tail feathers out of the way, and then he will penetrate her.

The Sounds Of Success

Ducks are very vocal about their success in copulation, so you’ll know when it’s happened. Males are considerably louder than females, who make a more delicate, “urh-urh-urh. During and after the act of mating, males will frequently whistle and grunt loudly.

The Importance Of Choosing A Mate

“The Descent of Man,” in which Charles Darwin stated that animals and birds choose their partners based largely on looks, was written by him. He thought that female sexual choice was an essential part of evolution, and he referred to it as “the taste for the lovely.”

Richard O., an ornithologist, “The Development of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal Kingdom — and Us,” by Prum, is a book about evolution.

To sum up, when Darwin initially proposed the notion that a woman should be able to choose her sexual partner, it was not particularly popular. As a result, the hypothesis has received little attention.

The female selects the male in most bird species. The guys must compete amongst themselves to show they are the greatest, and afterwards a female must choose them. There are two types of rivalry: one for males and one for females.

Forced copulation is almost impossible because 97% of all birds do not have a vaginal canal or penis. Frustration and aggressive males in ducks may take away the female’s choice of mate.

She is, however, able to prevent unintended fertilization in the majority of instances due to the complexity of her vaginal canal. As a result, the female retains control over who fertilizes her eggs and who will be passing on their genes to her offspring.

How The Seasons Affect Ducks’ Mating Behavior

Ducks are not sexually motivated all year, so they will not attempt to breed all year. Hormones and when it is mating season play a big role in determining when they want to mate.

The color of their feathers can even reveal what stage in the menstrual cycle they’re in. Ducks will molt as the mating season approaches to produce more vividly colored feathers, particularly males, in anticipation of courting the females.

Do Ducks Mate For Life?

Ducks do not mate for life, unlike geese and swans. During the breeding season, however, many are monogamous. During the breeding season, ducks will form paired relationships, but these pairings will normally change each time around. Seasonal bonding, or seasonal monogamy, is the term used to describe this.

Seasonal monogamy is observed in about half of all duck species, although other species may be more polyamorous.

Will Ducks Mate With The Same Sex?

Ducks of the same sex are known to form friendships with one another. Female ducks, for example, are known to form tight emotional relationships with other female ducks. Of course, there aren’t any fertilized eggs as a consequence of these encounters.

If their partner dies, some female-female pairings will establish long-term relationships with one another and mourn together.

Male ducks, on the other hand, don’t have this problem. Males will not form sexual connections and connections with other males, while females are more than willing to do so. Male ducks will fight with each other in an attempt to gain access to the females if there are too many of them in the region.

How Do Ducks Mate In Water?

Because it’s safer than doing it on land, ducks will occasionally mate while in the water. To mate, ducks must stand on the back of another duck, which may be hazardous if the top duck loses its footing. While attempting to support both her and her companion’s body weight, the duck on the bottom might sustain a leg injury.

Simply put, since the female is better able to withstand the weight of the male, she is safer and easier to mate in water. This, however, only applies if the copulation is consensual and reciprocal.

Water breeding can be quite harmful when a guy forcefully approaches a lady. In a display of dominance, males will grasp the female’s neck and force her head underwater. Copulation only takes seconds when the female is ready, so the spectacle doesn’t end tragically.

The female, on the other hand, will fight and struggle to get away when she does not want to mate. Female often drowns as a consequence of being unable to escape certain situations.

Duck Egg Facts

The female will start collecting material for her nest and putting it together when the pair selects a nesting location. During this time, she is welcome to sit on the nest, although she will not start incubating her eggs until all of them have been laid.

It may take days for all the eggs to be produced, since ducks do not lay all of their eggs at once. Depending on the amount of eggs she produces, it may take up to two weeks for her to lay all of her eggs because she only lays one egg per day. She’ll start incubating them after that.

Duck species determine how many eggs they lay. Mallard ducks, for example, typically lay 12 eggs per nest. Just around two of the hatchlings are expected to make it to maturity. Ducks have evolved to lay substantially more eggs than will survive as a result of their high juvenile mortality rate, which is what is expected.

While she is sitting on her eggs, a mother duck does not need to eat. The mother will consume a lot of food before she lays eggs, ensuring that her body is ready for the incubation process.

Ducks, like chickens, produce unfertilized eggs, and they are consumed by the same people who consume chicken eggs. The mother usually does not realize that the eggs are unfertilized, so she continues to lay them in the hopes that they will hatch one day.

There’s an quick way to tell if your duck is about to lay eggs. Just ask her. Just raise her up and gently palpate her pelvic bones. Pelvic bones of a duck that is preparing to produce eggs are spaced farther apart than they normally are. To make the process easier on the female’s body, the bones become more flexible during this time.

Duck Mating FAQs

What Time Of Year Do Ducks Mate?

When does a duck lay eggs? The time of year a duck mates varies depending on the kind of duck and where it lives.

Nevertheless, throughout the winter season, many duck species mate, which is typically between December and March. Many more animals will not mate until the spring migration arrives.

What Does “Duck” Mean Sexually?

The term “duck” in various societies simply signifies a happily married couple. The act of lovemaking is referred to as “mandarin ducks playing in the water” in other cultures.

Can A Duck Get A Chicken “Pregnant”?

A duck and a hen, on the other hand, can breed and give birth. This is a very unusual event, but it can happen. The eggs will seldom make it past the embryo stage most of the time. The offspring are usually sterile if the eggs survive to hatch.

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