What Do Ducks Eat

Learn about the diverse diet of ducks and what they eat in the wild. Discover how ducks adapt to different habitats and the importance of their feeding habits in ecosystems.

The Diet of Ducks

Ducks are omnivorous birds that have a varied diet consisting of both plant matter and small animals. Their diet can vary depending on their habitat, the season, and their species. Here is a breakdown of what ducks eat:

1. Plant Matter

  • Seeds: Ducks love to eat seeds from various plants such as grasses, weeds, and even crops like corn and rice.
  • Aquatic Plants: They also consume a variety of aquatic plants like duckweed, water lilies, and algae.
  • Grains: Ducks are known to eat grains like wheat, barley, and oats.

2. Insects and Invertebrates

Ducks are opportunistic feeders and will not shy away from eating insects and invertebrates. They can often be seen foraging for food in shallow water or mud. Some of the insects they may eat include:

  • Worms
  • Snails
  • Beetles
  • Flies

3. Small Fish and Amphibians

Some duck species have a diet that includes small fish and amphibians. They are adept at catching these prey items in the water bodies they inhabit. Examples of small fish ducks might eat include minnows and perch.

4. Human Food

In urban areas, ducks have become accustomed to feeding on human food scraps. They can often be found near ponds or lakes scavenging for bread, popcorn, and other food tossed by visitors.

Case Study: Mallard Ducks

Mallard ducks are one of the most common duck species found in North America. They have a diverse diet that includes a mix of plant matter, insects, and small fish. Research has shown that mallards are highly adaptable and can thrive in various habitats due to their flexible feeding habits.


Ducks are versatile birds that can survive on a range of food sources. By understanding what ducks eat, we can better appreciate these beautiful creatures and their importance in ecosystems around the world.

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