Courting and Mating Behaviors
Material obtained inpart from the book Waterfowl by Paul Johnsgard
Ducks have interesting social behaviors or "displays". Two types of displays which are seen as courtship or mating behaviors are known as pair-forming and pair-maintaining. There are many other types of behaviors but, I find the courtship moves most interesting watch.
Pair Forming Displays
The Drakes Dating Moves
- Head-Up-Tail-Up I've seen this done on land and water. It's a rapid move that consists of: simultaneous jerking up the head and tail, at the same time lifting the folded wings, quickly flashing the wing color band (speculum). He whistles at the peak of the display.
- Grunt-Whistle Done while in water. He scoops up water with the bill as it's quickly drawn toward the breast, then whistles while tossing up an arc of water drops toward the duck he's courting. Followed by a rearing up of the body and shaking his head and tail. This move is quite rapidly. While he's scooping up the water one may hear him make a rasberry sound.
- Down-Up The drake suddenly lifts his tail and submerges the breast as he performs a drinkng movement toward the gal he's courting, then quickly raises his bill which may toss a little water at her while making a whistle. I've seen this done on land as well. Of course, one won't see the water being tossed but the movement is the same.