Duck Upside Down- Why Ducks Put Head Underwater?

duck upside down

Photo via Flickr.

Have you ever seen a duck upside down after it put its head underwater?  Do you have any idea what it is doing or what it may be eating?

There are different kinds of ducks which eat different types of food.  Some dive under water for their food.  But, the ones that I am talking about that you sometimes see with their buts sticking up and their heads underwater are called dabbling ducks.

What Do Ducks Eat?

There are many different kinds of ducks, such as mallards, pintails, and mergansers.  Like all animals, the different kinds of ducks eat different things.  However, they are almost all omnivores, meaning they will eat both plants and animals.  Here are the main kinds of ducks and what they eat:

duck upside down

A beautiful harlequin duck is a diving duck. Photo via Flickr.

Diving Ducks – these ducks dive underwater and search for fish.  They tend to be heavier, which allows them to sink underwater, but makes it harder for them to fly.  An example in the Rocky Mountains is the harlequin duck.

duck upside down

A mallard is a dabbling duck.

Dabbling Ducks – these kinds of ducks eat on the surface of the water, on land, or underwater as far as they can reach their head.  These ducks eat plants, grasses, seeds, and small insects.  This group of ducks will eat be sifting through the water or mud to get insects or seeds.

Sometimes the duck will put its head underwater and stick its but up in the air in order to sift through the mud or eat underwater plants.  Examples in the Rocky Mountains are the mallard and northern shoveler.

What Does a Duck Upside Down Eat Under Water?

These ducks are trying to reach as far underwater as they can to eat either underwater plants or sometimes to sift through the mud on the bottom of the water.  If sifting through the mud they are searching for small insects.