How Does a Duck Fly?

By Jessica Reed; Updated April 24, 2017
How Does a Duck Fly?

Why Do Ducks Fly?

Ducks are flying creatures for a number of reasons. They use flight as a way to hunt for food, to escape from predators and to migrate to warmer weather in the winter. While ducks mostly fish for their food, they also search for insects as well. Flying helps them to catch insects, or to chase down their prey. Flying is also a key skill to keep them from becoming the prey themselves. Ducks can't walk very quickly, so they rely on flying to get away from dangerous predators. In the colder temperatures, they must travel long distances to warmer climates where they can find more food. The ability to fly is crucial for them to travel over these long distances and back again.

How Do Ducks Fly?

Ducks, and other birds, can fly thanks to the way in which their bodies are designed. The shape and angle of their wings push the air down, pushing their bodies up at the same time. Since the air rushing over the top of their wings is lighter than the air below the wings, it allows the ducks to keep gaining altitude. Birds glide in much the same way as an airplane. Their outstretched wings allow the wind to carry them along and hold them up. When a bird flaps its wings, it pushes air down, making the bird rise up through the lighter air above it. Then, once it reaches its desired height, it can glide until it needs to start flapping again.

Where Do Ducks Fly?

Ducks make both short trips and long trips. Long trips consist of their migration to warmer climates. These trips can span many states. However, ducks primarily fly over short areas. They may fly from predators, or after a source of food, but when they are resting, they prefer to waddle around. When startled, ducks will take off in one quick burst, but will only travel far enough to feel safe. If the intruder keeps getting closer, they may take off for good and fly away to the other shore of a lake or pond. Often, however, they will return to their original spot once the intruder has disappeared.