How to differentiate between male and female Ducks

Differences Between Male and Female Ducks

There are some differences between male and female ducks. But the differences between male and female ducks will not be readily obvious, depending on he duck species.

Although if you know what to listen and look for, then you will be better able to tell a male duck from female ducks.

There are actually four principal ways for recognizing a duck’s gender. And these ways are sound, behavior, external appearance and internal anatomy.

How to differentiate between male and female Ducks
How to differentiate between male and female Ducks

However, here we are describing more about the differences between male and female ducks.

Physical Appearance

In many duck species, the male ducks have more colorful feathers and bills. And the females generally exhibit duller colors.

The Northern Shoveler male ducks have a white chest with chestnut flank, but the females have a brownish speckled body.

In many species, the male ducks will have very bright coloration in their plumage for attracting mates during the mating season.

And the males will molt and lose their bright coloration after mating season, and resemble a female.

Bill Color

Observing the bill color is another way to tell the differences between male and female ducks.

The bill color doesn’t change during the mating season in many duck species. In case of Mallard ducks, the bill color of the males is bright yellow and the females have a brown and orange bill.

The Mottled male ducks have a bill that is a solid olive green to yellow color.

And the female’s bill is brown to orange with dark spotches. The male Wood ducks have a red bill that has a patch of yellow at the bottom.

Curled Feather Near the Tail

The male ducks will generally have an upwardly curled feather near their tail.

In males this feather will become noticeable in male ducks when they are aged between 2 and 4 months, and remains after molting. The females generally don’t have this feather.

Check the Vent

Ducks’ reproductive organs are inside their bodies. So, telling the males apart from the females takes a little more expertise if you’re attempting to make a distinction based on the plumbing.

Although, it’s possible to roll a duck over and turn its vent outward so you can see the organs. Unless you’ve had experience doing this, checking a duck’s vent to determine gender is best left to the vet.


In most duck species, the males are generally larger than the females. The male Rouens, Welsh Harlequins and Mallard ducks have larger heads and thicker necks than the females, but their body is larger.


The female ducks generally have a hard and loud quack than the males. And the males generally have rough and soft quack.

Seasonal Changes

The male and female ducks look alike in some duck breeds during certain seasons, for example during breeding season. Freckled duck is one such breed.

The males and the females have identical feathers, but the male sports a red color on his bill during breeding.

Behavioral Differences

There are some behavioral differences between male and female ducks. The male ducks generally have a wide variety of species-and gender-specific behaviors that differ from those of their female counterparts.

For example, male Mallard ducks court females by bobbing their heads from one side to the other (glancing over their shoulders or flapping their wings as they raise up above the water).

The Mallard will make threatening moves with an open bill and an acrobatic chase, when confronted by another male.

The male Bufflehead ducks attract females by flying overhead and then skidding to a halt on the water, raising their crests and bobbing their heads.

In most duck breeds, the differences between male and female ducks are easily identified. You can easily identify males and females if you raise ducks for sometimes.

The male ducks are generally more colorful than the female ducks.

In case of size, the males are generally larger than the females.

The males of most species have a prominent curled feather near the tail, which is not present in the tail of females.

Male ducks have softer and and harsher quack, while the females have distinctive loud quack.

The males have an extended or elongated genital organ whereas females have a cone-like genital organ.

The female ducks are known as hens or simply ducks, while the male ducks are known as drakes.

These are the common differences between male and female ducks. You will be able to differentiate males and females easily if you raise them for sometime.

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