The name Duck covers a wide variety of waterfowl. All ducks are pretty close related to geese and swans. While ducks species differ from each other in appearance, they all have one thing in common. The duck has the most insane sex life.
Put all the ducks in a row and you’ll notice that not all ducks are the same. And it’s not just the color. Some like puddles, others are great divers. Then there’s also their bill. They have all sorts of different equipped bills that help them out with their duck life. But when it comes to their sex life, all ducks, no matter their species, take part in an insane evolutionary race.
A duck here and a duck there
Let us begin by looking at what makes a duck a duck.
Ducks are waterbirds with broad bills and webbed feet. Their short legs and big feet might cause them to waddle as their walk on dry land, but they are excellent for swimming and diving.
Not all ducks are into diving, though. Some prefer to just hang around in shallow waters and feed on food close to the surface. These are called Dabbling or puddle ducks. The closest they come to diving is sticking their head under water to reach some of the water plants.
Help with the bill
Just like there are a variety of ducks, their bills also differ in size and shape. This makes the bill a perfect eating tool for all the different food menus preferred by the different species.
Anas platyrhynchos, also known as Mallards, eat just about everything they can find. Seeds, grains, small fish, insects, and plants can be best foraged with a rather flat and round-tipped bill.
Anas clypeata, also known as Northern shoveler, eat aquatic invertebrates. Small animals, such as insects, crustaceans, mollusks, and worms that live in water are easily swooped up with a shovel-shaped bill. Thus the name shoveler.
And here we have Mergus serrator, also known as red-breasted merganser. These ducks are great divers and their daily meals are small fish. The long and narrow bill makes diving a lot easier.
Some even have strainers along the inside of their bill. These are the small, soft, comb-like structures on the side of the bill that might be mistaken for teeth. They allow the non-food items to escape and keep the food inside the bills. Of course, they also come different with each species. The smaller the food sources, the tighter the comb.
Now you know how duck species differ from one to another. Let’s move on to what they all have in common and you will see that nature has a scary side when it comes to ducks.
Screwy sex life
Male ducks are rapists. They are notorious for being aggressive, and more often than not, violently force themselves on the females. And it doesn’t have to be a female, or necessarily alive. Scientists have observed homosexual necrophilia among male ducks in many cases.
At times, this uncontrolled violence is fatal for the female. It should be enough to scare any female away when they see a male coming. But it gets even more insane. There are only about 3% of birds with penises, and the male duck is equipped with not just a regular penis. Oh. no. His is a corkscrew penis. Some penises, like that of the Argentine runny duck, can be 9-inches long. Screw that! No surprise here that there is an ongoing evolutionary war between males and females.
It makes you wonder if any of it started as a rare genetic mutation that kept on evolving instead of being thrown out.
Female ducks are absolutely unimpressed by the brutal behavior of males. First of all, not every female wants to raise a family. And second, who wants to have babies with with an unwelcome suitor. Don’t females have a choice in that matter? Well, it looks like they do.
To make it hard for the male to penetrate with their corkscrew penis, females have their own defense system. Their vaginas evolved to be a corkscrew vagina with the twist going in the opposite direction.
The males, still not taking no for an answer, countered by evolving a ballistic corkscrew penis. This specialized penis explodes into the vagina like a rocket. No shape or size will stand in its way. To give you an idea what it looks like, here’s a slow-motion video of the ballistic corkscrew penis.
What is there for the female to do but to enforce the vagina wall with a thicker structure, just to keep from being ruptured. And to insure that she still has a say so in matters of children, her vagina evolved into an entire labyrinth of opposite direction corridors and pockets. Good luck, sperm, finding your way without getting lost. And with that, the female duck still remains in control over who gets to fertilize her eggs. Oh, but wait. This evolutionary war is not over.
The competition is on
Male ducks don’t care if they are jerks or not. They still want to reproduce, passing on their genes to create more jerk male ducks. So, evolution added barbs on some of their penises to allow their sperm to shoot way ahead of any competitors. Then it gets even more insane.
When the mating season is over, their penises have become useless. What to do with something useless? You lose it. Their penises just fall off after the males satisfied their sex drive for the season. This is when ducks join the rest of the bird world without penises. But not for long.
Soon the season will start again, and penises are growing back. And should there be a lot of competition around, their penis will even grow to be longer. Because size matters when there’s competition to deal with.
After all this, let’s not think that there is no romance and only violent sex between ducks.
Females tend to have a good relationship with Mr Right, and even make it easier for his penis to deliver the sperm and fertilize her eggs.
Aren’t you glad you’re not a duck?
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