What is a male duck called?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “What is a male duck called?” and provide information on how to distinguish between drakes and hens, their behavior, whether a drake can turn into a hen, whether they can be eaten as well as their diet.

What is a male duck called?

A male duck is called a drake. However, this term is used to refer to adult male ducks only. Young male ducks can be called ducklings. It can take a period of 3-6 months for ducklings to grow into drakes. Female ducks are called hens.

How can you distinguish between drakes and hens?

Drakes and hens almost look similar. However, there are still a few differences between drakes and hens which are given below:

  • The feathers or plumage are the most distinguishing feature between drakes and hens. Drakes have colorful feathers. These feathers are used by them to attract hens, especially during the mating period. 

After the mating season, drakes might lose color in their feathers. They can though gradually develop over time. Hens look pretty dull compared to drakes. 

  • The bill of drakes can also help to stand them out from hens. Drakes have yellow or slightly green-colored bills. Hens can have an orange or yellow colored bill. Some hens can have dark spots around their bills though this can vary depending on their species.
  • Drakes are heavier and bigger in size compared to hens. This is the same across all species of ducks. The neck of a drake is thicker compared to a hen. Plus they have a bigger network of feathers, unlike hens.
  • The features of feathers can also help in distinguishing between a male and a female. Males have slightly curled feathers near their tails while hens do not have them. This might not be observed in male ducklings.
  • The sound of a drake and a hen is different. Hens are louder quacks whereas drakes have softer but rougher quacks. This difference in quacks can be observed since they are one month old.

However, there can be differences in the sound of quacks depending on duck species. For instance, Muscovy drake’s quacks can be a deep sound whereas Muscovy hen’s quacks might be similar to a crackling sound.

Is the behavior of a drake different from a hen?

Yes, the behavior of drakes can be different from hens. Drakes tend to be more aggressive right from the moment they hatch from eggs. The intensity of aggressiveness can vary based on their species.

During the mating season, their aggressiveness is particularly noticeable. Drakes can indulge in certain actions to attract hens. This can include head bobbing and spreading out their feathers.

Can hens lay eggs without drakes?

Yes, hens can lay eggs without drakes. However, ducklings would not hatch from these eggs. These eggs need to be fertilized by drakes so that ducklings can hatch from them. 

Can a drake turn into a hen?

No, a drake cannot turn into a hen. However, hens are able to change their gender and become drakes. This can occur if the females have some issues with their reproductive organs.

If there is an excess amount of male hormones produced in their body, hens can turn into drakes. However, this phenomenon can be very rare.

Can drakes be eaten?

Yes, drakes can be eaten. Drake meat is delicious. It is also much better to farm drakes and sell them for meat as drakes are larger in size than hens. The meat of drakes is also delicious. It is high in protein too. 

What do ducks eat?

Ducks can eat both animal and plant matter which can make them omnivores. Among plant matter, they can eat berries, grains, seaweeds, flowers, and grains.

Among animal matter, ducks can eat insects, beetles, snails, small fish, and eggs. They can also eat water-based insects, reptiles, and tadpoles.

Ducklings have a diet similar to adult ducks but they usually eat softer foods. Some of them consume algae, worms, and mollusks. They can also feed on aquatic plants and crustaceans.

In a pond, ducks can spend a lot of time straining their food through water. Their diet consists of reptiles, small fish, small frogs, and mollusks.

Even though ducks spend most of their time on the water, they can also come to land and forage for food. They pick out worms, snails, larvae, and slugs from grass to eat. Ducks can eat bread pieces too but it is not nutritionally beneficial for them.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “What is a male duck called?” and provided information on how to distinguish between drakes and hens, their behavior, whether a drake can turn into a hen, whether they can be eaten as well as their diet.


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