What is a Male Duck Called?

A male duck is called a drake, although some people call male ducks mallards. Nonetheless, mallards aren’t male ducks but a specific type of duck species. Ducklings are baby ducks, while female ducks are called hens or just simply ducks.

What is a Young Male Duck Called?

A young male duck is called a duckling. It remains a duckling until it grows into a drake. Young male ducks can take between 3 and 5 months to grow into drakes. Some young male ducks from some duck species can evolve into drakes quite fast. Young male ducks from mallard species of duck, for instance, mature pretty fast compared to young male ducks from other species.

Drake vs. Duck (Hen) – What is the Difference?

Drakes and hens look pretty similar. After all, they are all ducks with similar physical traits. Nonetheless, there are differences between hens and drakes. It helps to know these differences if you are keeping ducks. Below are the subtle differences between hens and ducks.

– Plumage

The plumage is arguably the most notable distinguishing feature between hens and drakes. Drakes have bright coloration across their plumage. They develop this bright plumage to help them attract hens during the onset of the mating season.

Drakes, however, molt and lose their bright coloration after the mating season, although they develop the coloration with time. On the other hand, Hens have a dull coloration throughout their plumage, making them distinct from drakes.

– Color of the Bill

The color of the bill is also a distinguishing feature between drakes and hens. Drakes have bills with a yellow or conspicuous green color. Hens’ bills can either be orange or brown, depending on the species. Some hens’ bills also have dark splotches, although it depends on the duck species.

– Size

Drakes are larger than hens across all duck species. Drakes also have larger heads than hens. Furthermore, drakes have much thicker necks than hens. Their wings are more extensive than hens’ wings.

– Feathers

Drakes have distinct feathers making it easy to distinguish them from hens. Drakes grow curled feathers near their tails. These feathers are the ‘sex feathers.’ These feathers are conspicuous in drakes when they are between three and five months old. Hens, on the other hand, don’t have curled feathers near their tails.

– Quacks

You can differentiate between a hen and a drake from how they quack. Hens have hard and loud quacks. Drakes have rough and soft quacks on the other side. You can differentiate the quacks of hens from drakes when they are around a month old.

The quacks can be different depending on the duck species. Drakes from the Muscovy duck species make deep quacks, while the quacks from hens sound like crackling noises.

How to Tell if a Duckling is a Drake?

It is pretty tricky to tell whether a duckling is a drake at an early age. Nonetheless, you can tell if a duckling is a drake by checking some notable physical features. Below are some of the features that can help you tell if your duckling is a drake.

– Feathers

The feathers of a duckling can help you tell whether it is a drake or not. Young males start growing bright sex feathers a few months after hatching. The sex feathers will continue growing until the duckling becomes an adult.

– The Bill

Observing the color of the bill can help you figure out whether a duckling is a drake or a hen. Young males have bright yellow bills. The color can also be orange or brown, depending on the duck species. Young male ducklings from the Mallard species, for instance, have brown bills.

– Duckling Size

The size of a duckling can be another clear sign of the duckling being a drake. Male ducklings are larger compared to females. If your duckling is bigger than other ducklings in your flock, it’s most likely that the duckling is a drake.

– Sound

The way a duckling quacks can help indicate its sex. Male ducklings have rougher and softer quacks. The quacking sound becomes rougher and smoother as the duckling grows into a drake.

Young male ducks develop the rougher and softer quack from the time they are around a month old.

– Behavior

The behavior of a duckling can help you tell whether the duckling will grow to a drake or a hen. Young male ducks have a more aggressive behavior that they exhibit from hatching until they grow into adult drakes. The aggressive behavior can be more intense in some duck species.

Can Ducks Lay Eggs Without a Drake?

Female ducks can lay eggs even in the absence of male ducks. Nonetheless, the eggs won’t hatch into ducklings. It would help if you had a drake around for your female ducks to lay eggs that can hatch into ducklings. Otherwise, your female ducks will continue laying unfertilized eggs.

Can a Male Duck Turn Into a Female?

No, a male duck can’t turn into a female. A female duck can, however, turn into a male duck. Females usually turn males if they have a reproduction problem, such as having an infected ovary. In such a case, the female will produce plenty of male hormones prompting it to change its gender over time. Nonetheless, it is pretty rare for female ducks to turn into females.

Males can’t turn into females. They will retain the male gender for their entire lifetime. Males also retain their male hormones throughout their life, and hence drakes can’t turn into females.

Can You Eat Male Ducks?

Yes, you can eat male ducks. Male ducks are excellent for meat production. Males grow pretty quickly, and they also become larger than females. Male Muscovy and Pekin ducks are the best ducks breeds for meat production.

The meat from male ducks is pretty nutritious. It parks an abundant source of protein. The meat is also among the best types of white meats.


Drakes are male ducks. These ducks are distinct from hens and ducklings in terms of size, feathers, and sound. Furthermore, drakes grow pretty fast compared to hens. Most importantly, drakes are an excellent source of meat.


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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