Can Domestic Ducks Fly? Interesting Facts to Know

With easily accessible food, warmth, and shelter, most domestic ducks do not find any need to fly. However, if they get startled or feel threatened, some make an attempt, albeit for short distances. For instance, the Mallard duck breed is a well-known flier and can reach up to 6 feet.

Other species such as the Pekin or the Muscovy duck can also take a flight. Even less commonly seen breeds like the Harlequin are still able to fly if need be. In general, though, only a few types of domestic ducks can successfully take flight. Join us as we shed some light on this oft-asked question.

Will Domestic Duck Fly Away?

Ducks are inquisitive animals that enjoy exploring around. If they get a chance, they might roam out of the territory and never come back. Owners who live close to water sources can attest that ducks may take a flight to socialize with other waterfowl.

Sometimes, you may even see them roost in trees at night. These are all-natural behaviors for domestic ducks and can be passed on from generation to generation if allowed.

In addition, during the mating season, some drakes can be aggressive with their mates. Thanks to the commotion created, some ducks may take off for safety.

Why Can’t Some Domestic Ducks Fly?

There are various reasons why domestic ducks are incapable of flight. For example, most are raised in an enclosed area where there is no flying space. Moreover, they were never trained by their parents or owners on how to fly.

In rare cases, an injured wing or damaged bones can deter the bird from taking flight. Unfortunately, there are also cases where ducks get clipped up by their owners in childhood to prevent them from escaping.

Sometimes, duck’s inability to fly can be associated with their size and weight. If they are too heavy, they may not manage to lift themselves from the ground.

Do not forget that ducks have small heads. This has been proven over time to be one factor that limits them from attaining greater heights when flying. If they had bigger skulls, then perhaps they would be able to stay airborne or fly for longer distances.

Can You Teach Domestic Ducks to Fly?

Generally, flying domestic ducks only manage not more than ten feet off the ground. This is because their wingspan is too small for anything more impressive. Luckily with proper guidance and training, your duck might learn a trick or two about taking flight. Here are quick tips on how to teach them.

  • Place them in an area with lots of open space and no objects that will hurt them if they fall. Make sure it is safe to run into things such as grassy areas or rocky/sandy beaches.
  • Set up some poles at different areas of your backyard and have them stand on top of them. Then encourage them to jump off. Just be sure not to scare or prod at them too much as it might discourage them from making an attempt.
  • After pushing themselves up using their wings, ducks may flutter down in an uncontrolled manner. It requires a great deal of patience and diligence to help them learn the ropes. Therefore, you may have to practice with them on their takeoffs for a couple of weeks or months.
  • When you eventually get to watch your domestic flying duck soar above the ground, you must appreciate the great feat to encourage them further. If possible, throw in some of the favorite snacks like fowl pellets and so forth.

If none of these tips work, consider talking with a local duck specialist. From their wide knowledge, you can understand better how ducks think and the quickest way to instill new knowledge into them.

Why Do Ducks Flap their Wings?

When a duck flaps their wings, they create an area of low pressure near the top. This activity causes air to rush in from above and below. Eventually, the inward stream of air pushes the bird up into the sky.

When more air is flowing under their wings than above them, an acrobatic fowl can gain enough altitude to begin flapping again.

Which Domestic Ducks Can Fly?

It has been proven that any domestic duck capable of flight can do so for short periods. Among the best duck fliers, we have Pekin and mallard ducks. It doesn’t matter if the duck is a male or female because both genders possess the same characteristics when it comes to flight capabilities.

When it comes to Mallard ducks, these are some of the few species that can actually fly and migrate during winter. Usually, they fly in flocks seeking warmer temperatures.

Baby Mallards learn how to fly from three to four months or when the wings become fully developed. Akin other waterfowls, they fly at an average speed of 40-60 mph. With these speeds, migrating Mallard ducks can travel more than 800 miles within eight hours.

Only the other hand, the Pekin duck is one type of domestic duck that has been proven able to fly. The duck was domesticated more recently than other domestic animals such as cats and dogs.

Although some birds may get too heavy and find it nearly impossible to fly, with proper training, Pekin ducks can take short flights. Remember that the quickest way to encourage your duck to fly is by befriending them. Overtime and after gaining trust on you, they may feel comfortable learning how to flutter with you.


The domestic duck is not typically viewed as an agile bird, and for the most part this assessment is correct.  After all, most of these birds spend most of their time living in captivity, resting until the next feeding time.

Still, some domestic ducks are well-regarded for their flying abilities. Therefore, you should do your best to provide them with opportunities to practice these skills.

Note that they may never reach the heights of some wildfowl that have had several generations to adapt to life in the air. However, domestic ducks can also enjoy a few minutes of freedom as they flap their wings and glide through fresh air.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *