How Do Ducks Show Affection?

Surprisingly, ducks can be some of the world’s most affectionate and compassionate creatures. They don’t only love interacting with people, but they also show affection to people, especially when they want to catch the attention of those they love. There’s a fair chance your ducks will feel affectionate about you if you make them happy.

Ducks have different ways of showing attention to fellow ducks and their owners. For instance, these birds have a habit known as imprinting. The habit allows ducks to show affection right from birth.

9 Ways Ducks Show Affection

Ducks are lovely birds eager to show affection to those they love. Ducks show affection to their owners and other ducks in many ways. Let’s dive into how ducks show affection to people, fellow ducks, and other creatures.

Nuzzling And Cuddling

Ducks love to nuzzle and cuddle with someone they like. If your duck is affectionate toward you, the bird will start nuzzling up to you in readiness for cuddling. They will do this repeatedly until they fall asleep on your lap. Nuzzling and cuddling are signs your ducks feel comfortable and safe around you.

Furthermore, nuzzling and cuddling are gestures of love for someone a duck is affectionate about. Because ducks are highly social birds, they treasure companionship with other ducks or humans.

Even in the wilderness, ducklings will cuddle with their mothers and other ducks in the flock. If your ducks nuzzle up and cuddle up on you, they genuinely love and appreciate your company. Ducks also appear playful with their owners if they like them or when the owners strive to make the birds happy.


Most of us know that ducks make different quacking sounds. However, some aren’t aware that these birds make multiple sounds when communicating different things and feelings. Besides aggressive sounds, ducks make vocalizations whenever they are excited or happy.

Your ducks will chatter endlessly and make loud vocalizations when you are around to try to get your attention. Vocalizations can be more intense if most of the ducks in your flock want to compete to show affection towards you.

Moreover, you can tell from the intensity of their vocalizations that the birds are happy to see you or other ducks. The honking sound from your ducks will be louder and more enthusiastic if your ducks want to show you how affectionate they are towards you.

An increasingly positive sign that your ducks love you is making deep vocalizations when following you around your yard or house.

Head Bobbing

Head bobbing is another way ducks show affection to other ducks and humans. Head bobbing is common in ducks when they are thrilled about someone or something. For instance, the birds will approach you while bobbing their heads when you are approaching the flock to show they are happy and excited about you.

Ducks repeatedly shake their heads in joy when they see you, especially if you have been away from the birds for a while. Head bobbing is like how dogs joyfully wag their tails to indicate happiness and delight at their owners. Ducks will do this head movement to show affection towards their owners and fellow ducks.

Sharing Food

Sharing food shows that the ducks love each other. Your ducks will share food because they feel they are one family. Even wild ducks share food among themselves. Sharing food helps ducks develop strong affection between flock members. No wonder ducks flock in groups. You will barely see a flock member eating separately from other members.

Ducks are lovely creatures that do almost everything in groups, from eating to sleeping. Some pet ducks also share food with their owners as a sign of affection towards their owners. It doesn’t imply the birds are necessarily hungry if your ducks seem happy with sharing what is on your plate with you.

Instead, the birds want to let you know of their affection and love towards you. Putting aside time to share some food with your ducks can help you develop a strong bond between you and your birds.

Preening And Grooming Each Other

Wild and domesticated ducks will take their time to preen and groom each other to show affection to each other. If your ducks like each other, you will notice them happily chattering while preening and grooming each other. Ducks don’t just preen and groom each other to keep their feathers clean and neat.

Instead, these birds indulge in these activities to show their love for each other and to develop strong bonds. Male ducks will preen and groom females after swimming, particularly during courtship, to express love and affection to their favorite females. Besides preening and grooming, your ducks will also rub their head all over each other’s bodies as a sign of affection.

Swimming Together

Ducks develop affection toward each other right from birth. The strong bond between the birds prompts them to do everything as a group, which explains why ducks are highly social compared to other birds. Ducks enjoy swimming together because swimming helps them become affectionate toward each other.

Even wild ducks swim together in rivers, dams, and lakes. You will barely see a wild duck swimming away from the flock. Domesticated and wild ducks swim together in a line or a circle. Besides bonding with each other, swimming together helps ducks detect potential threats and predators.

Forming A Flock

Ducks aren’t solitary creatures, so they prefer to live in a flock. These birds form a flock at the onset of their life. A duck flock comprises dominant drakes, hens, younger ducks, and ducklings. Ducks form strong bonds with each other when they grow together as a flock. Every duck belongs to a specific flock.

No duck will leave the flock and pursue life individually. Each duck will stick to its flock and show a great affection toward the other flock members. Moreover, a duck can’t join another flock since the birds in the other flock won’t accept the bird as one of their own.

Forming Mating Pairs

Ducks are polygamous, and males can mate with multiple hens. Nonetheless, ducks have to show affection to each other and form mating pairs before mating. A mating pair consists of a drake and a couple of duck hens that are affectionate toward each other. When a drake wants to mate with a hen, he must show affection to the female, who will respond to his advances if she likes him.

Domestic and wild ducks form strong mating pairs during the mating season. That’s why ducks indulge in multiple courtship behaviors to make the perfect mating pairs before the mating season. Ducks don’t mate randomly but establish mating pairs before the actual mating occurs.

Caring For Ducklings

Ducks are affectionate creatures, showing affection in how they care for their ducklings. For instance, a mother will swim and forage with her ducklings always by her side. She will also protect the ducklings from predators. Furthermore, the mother will feed her ducklings from hatching till the little ducklings are old enough to search for food on their own.

Drakes also care for ducklings by protecting their offspring from predators. Hen mothers are attentive caregivers that learn how to care for ducklings at a tender age. They always maximize all the chances to give loving care and love to their ducklings.

Can Ducks Show Affection To Their Owner?

Ducks don’t only show affection toward fellow ducks. They also show affection to their owners when they feel comfortable and safe around the owners. Some of the things ducks do to show affection to their owners include nibbling on their owners’ hands.

Your ducks will also show their affection to you by following you. The birds will also remain still when you pet them as a sign of affection toward you.


Ducks have many ways of showing affection to their fellow ducks and their owners. For instance, ducks can show affection to other ducks by swimming together, forming a flock, sharing food, and forming pairs.

Ducks show affection to their owners using vocalizations, head bobbing, and following their owners around. Ducks are undoubtedly the most affectionate birds on the planet!

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

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