Ducks pertain to a large family of birds which also includes swans and geese. Variably called waterfowl, these birds can be found all over the world. They usually reside near or around bodies of water like lakes or ponds. However, there are also specialized birds residing in the oceanic islands.
Duck are often docile animals apart from situations when their offspring are threatened. Their kind nature has made them the focus of domestication efforts of humans for use as sources of eggs and feathers.
Having said that, their unassuming nature in the wild also makes them vulnerable to the advances of more aggressive and ferocious animals. Here we present a list of the predators that hunt waterfowl for prey.
List of Duck Predators
1. Red Fox
The red fox is a popular land-dwelling mammal endemic to the Northern Hemisphere and is considered to most important of the fur-bearing animals for the past centuries. Belonging to the family Canidae, these mammals sport a signature red fur mane considered the terror of many weaker animals.
The red fox is considered the primary predator of ducks. Red foxes are frequently seen stalking in and around the feeding grounds of a flock of ducks. They can even be so aggressive as to directly seek out duck nests to hunt.
Their heightened sense of smell of hearing enables the red fox to effectively hunt ducks as food. It’s able to trace duck sounds accurately and with the right opportunity pounce upon their unsuspecting prey. A bonus in their hunt is the duck eggs which they whisk away as future food.
Badgers are carnivores and can eat a variety of different animals from earthworms to birds, insects and small mammals. With their uncanny ability to burrow and hunt from underground, badgers can gain an advantage over their prey.
Badgers are considered a significant predator of ducks, especially of their eggs. With their sharp claws and powerful limbs, a badger can subdue unsuspecting ducks and make short work of them. Badgers are known to eat their prey on the spot and if they, fortunately, happened upon a duck nest, the eggs are one of their favorite delicacies.
Raccoons are land-dwelling mammals belonging to the family Procyonidae. These animals are commonly found in America preferring to reside in forests.
Raccoons are regarded as omnivores by many experts, having a diet consisting of an even mix of plants, small invertebrates and vertebrates. However, if their hunting patterns so place them in the path of a duck’s nest, these animals also fall victim to their insatiable hungers.
Raccoons possess sharp teeth as well as sharp claws making them formidable predators of ducks. Raccoons can subdue ducks with a powerful bite over the neck, effectively disabling them from resisting the raccoon. Having disabled the duck, raccoons now are free to help themselves to the eggs of the nest.
Minks are small semi-aquatic mammals that live in and around water. They prefer to navigate streams and ditches in search of food. They are natural carnivores and prey on various animals like aquatic life, small mammals, and even birds.
These are fast and agile animals, able to swim swiftly underwater using their specialized trunk movements. They have adaptable respiratory mechanisms to stay longer underwater for catching fish and other aquatic animals.
Though they appear small and meek, the mink is a terrible predator for ducks. Minks prefer to hunt ducks in the water, targeting their necks with their powerful bite. Their long canines sinking deep into the head or neck of the ducks to subdue them. Once controlled, the mink then proceeds to drown the ducks before completing their hunt.
Corvids are a group of birds comprised of ravens, crows, magpies and other similar avian animals. More commonly referred to as the “crow family”, these are commonly black-feathered birds with high levels of intelligence and preference for hunting in groups.
Among these birds, the crow was believed to be one of the top bird predators for ducks in general. However, in more recent years, they have found the raven to be the more significant threat owing to their gregarious nature.
These birds are adept at terrorizing ducklings and duck nests from atop their high perch. They swoop down attacking the young ducks, impaling them with their sharp beaks. Once undefended, the eggs within nests are easy pickings for the corvid birds.
6. Snapping Turtles
Arguably the most enigmatic animal on this list, the snapping turtle is a large freshwater turtle belonging to the family Chelydridae. Of the different types of turtle, these reptiles display aggressive behavior when navigating on land.
Their aggression is further highlighted through their physical characteristics. They gain their name from their powerful jaws resembling a bird’s beak atop a long and mobile neck. Its jaws can produce tremendous biting force capable of subduing any unwary prey.
Commonly, snapping turtles take advantage of ducks in the water. A careless waterfowl may find itself within the biting range of the snapping turtle. Before it realizes it, this predator of ducks can already clamp down its jaws onto the duck’s neck turning into easy prey meat.
Named for its short bobtail, the bobcat is a medium-sized cat endemic in North America that prefers to live in woodland areas. With its signature whisked face, bobcats are solitary animals and prefer to stay within territories wherein they’ve established their boundaries.
Bobcats are expert stealth hunters, meaning they excel at waiting for the right opportunity to pounce on their prey. They prefer to hunt waterfowl around bodies of water where they usually gather.
Bobcats will be seen hiding behind cover, waiting for unsuspecting ducks to get close before springing into action. It uses its sharp claws to dig into the body of the duck then get in a lethal neck bite to end the hunt. After consuming its prey, the bobcat is up at it again hunting its next prey.
I hope that this article on duck predators was helpful! If you are interested, visit the Animal Facts Page!