do ducks eat other birds

Mallard ducks are usually humble creatures, feeding on smaller foods like insects, berries, and plants. On the other hand, they appear to be going through a bit of a change in diet as of late.

As noted in the journal Waterbirds, University of Cambridge researchers observed and photographed wild mallard ducks in Romania as they hunted, killed, and ate small migratory birds, a behavior that has reportedly never been observed in the species before.

More importantly, it wasn’t a single mallard duck partaking in the strange behavior; instead, what appeared to be an entire local population of mallard ducks were exhibiting it, suggesting that either something is wonky with their traditional food sources, or the mallard ducks are going through a dietary change.

After drowning the small birds by submerging them under water for some time, they then attempted to swallow the lifeless body whole.

Their bills aren’t made for chewing or tearing the creatures apart like a toothed predator would; instead, it’s made for plucking smaller foodstuffs away from branches, vines, and up off the ground, so they had some trouble choking it down.

“The mallard was massively struggling to eat that wagtail, presumably because it couldnt actually tear it to pieces because the bill is flattened – its not designed for ripping prey apart,” said Dr Silviu Petrovan, an author of the study and a witness to the abnormal hunting behavior.

Exactly why the ducks’ behavior is changing remains a mystery. One theory is that perhaps the animals are suffering from a protein shortage and are jumping at opportunities to make up for it by eating things they normally wouldn’t.

“Potentially there is quite a lot of pressure for those fast-growing juveniles to get animal protein intake, and therefore they are looking at opportunities to supplement that,” Dr Petrovan continued.

“But, the fact that these individuals seem to have learned how to hunt birds is pretty extraordinary.”

There are no other scientific studies describing this sort of behavior, so it’s news to everyone involved. It appears to be a very rare behavior that needs to be looked at in more detail to see if it could be going on more often than we know.

Whether this could become the norm for mallard ducks on a global scale really depends on the food sources that mother nature has available to offer and how behavioral patterns evolve in different regions around the world.

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The researchers hypothesize that the Mallards’ deficiency in animal proteins may have resulted from fish introduced for fishing fiercely competing with the birds for insect larvae. During the egg-laying season, the ducks became desperate for high-protein food and started eating other birds.

Therefore, Dr. Silviu Petrovan would like to speak with you if you have ever seen Mallard ducks engaging in this type of predatory behavior.

Generally speaking, mallard ducks only eat insects and aquatic plants. Fish and amphibians are the only vertebrates that Mallards are known to occasionally consume. When compared to other duck species like Muscovy Ducks, mallards are not typically aggressive or predatory in both the wild and in farming settings, so this behavior is especially surprising.

The research into this elusive, never-before-recorded phenomenon can be found in the in the journal Waterbirds.Advertisement

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“Those rapidly growing juveniles may be under a lot of pressure to consume animal protein, so they are looking for ways to supplement that,” Dr. Petrovan went on.

It’s news to all concerned as there are no other scientific studies that describe this kind of behavior. It seems to be an extremely uncommon behavior that requires closer examination to determine whether it occurs more frequently than we currently realize.

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They had some difficulty choking it down since their bills aren’t designed for tearing or chewing like a toothed predator would; rather, they’re meant for plucking smaller foodstuffs off of branches, vines, and the ground.

As noted in the journal Waterbirds, University of Cambridge researchers observed and photographed wild mallard ducks in Romania as they hunted, killed, and ate small migratory birds, a behavior that has reportedly never been observed in the species before.

FAQ

Why do ducks eat other ducks?

Although cannibalism can begin in ducks of any age, ducklings over 4 weeks old are more prone to develop this vice. The underlying reasons for birds turning to cannibalism are not known, but it is associated with boredom and is aggravated by: overcrowding. lack of ventilation.

Is A duck A Predator or a Prey?

When it comes to food-chain hierarchy, ducks are the rabbits of the avian world — essentially every critter with forward-facing eyes wants a bite of them. The threats are even broader for ducklings, which are consumed by practically anything large enough to complete the task, from bullfrogs to herons.

What do ducks like to eat the most?

Some great options are lettuce or cabbage (if ducks drove cars, they’d almost certainly have one of those “Eat more kale” bumper stickers). Other things you can give them are: corn (not popcorn), rice, peas, broccoli, tomatoes, and most fruits (not citrus).

Do mallard ducks have predators?

Mallards are preyed upon by a wide variety of predators, including humans, raccoons, cats, domestic dog, skunks, weasels, hawks, crows, ravens, magpies, turtles, snakes, and fish. They are watchful and escape to the water when startled, including the young ducklings.