ducks Extras

Why Does My Female Duck Bob its Head?

If you’re new to ducks, you may not have seen females or males bobbing their heads yet. Or maybe you have witnessed them bobbing their heads but don’t know what it is. I can help explain this behavior, because I also have ducks and have seen them doing this. We’ve had our ducks for a couple of years now, and one female duck bobs her head all the time.

For two years now I’ve noticed my Pekin bobbing her head at my boss rooster. This isn’t an isolated event either. Bakugo used to chase Megatron relentlessly, the whole time bobbing her white head. I have some ideas that might sound a little crazy or farfetched. However, like I said, I witnessed her behavior for 2 years now. I personally think she wants to be a chicken. I told you, crazy. She’s evidently confused, because usually in these events the roles are reversed. Drakes and roosters are more forward, not hens and ducks.

Why Ducks Bob Their Heads

Now what do I mean by that statement? For those of you who have had ducks for a while, you probably already know what I’m getting at. For everyone else, when a duck bobs its head, it is just what it sounds like. It moves its head up and down, sometimes several times in succession.

But what does it mean when a duck bobs its head? What are ducks trying to express, or are they even trying to speak? I don’t think only humans are possible of higher skills like communication. We have our animals, and I can watch them for any length of time and witness them speaking to each other. I may not always know what they’re saying. They may not always speak out loud or in a language I can understand. However, I know they’re talking or expressing themselves by the many various sounds they make and even by their movements.

We didn’t have our original three ducks very long, when I pondered this. And I never saw Aizawa, our female Mallard, or Kirishima, our late drake or male Pekin, bob their heads. At anyone. So that left Bakugo, right? She’s our female Pekin.

When I first noticed this behavior, I thought the ducks were attacking or harassing my rooster, Megatron. And I was indignant. How could they act that way? Now I said the others didn’t display these actions, and that was true. Although, they did follow Bakugo around as she chased Megatron, bobbing her head the whole time.

Watercolor of White Pekin Duck Flirting with Rooster, Courtesy of Paul Smith
This is a watercolor of Bakugo loving on Megatron, courtesy of my husband.

Ducks Flirt

I learned that when ducks bob their heads, they’re usually flirting. In waterfowl mating, it’s the female who chooses the drake with the best plumage. Ordinarily, if Bakugo was a normal duck, she would have chosen her natural match, Kirishima, the drake. However, that’s not what went on. She set her eyes on the rooster and gave him every indication that she liked him. My rooster wasn’t aware of what any of that meant though; he just knew those odd birds were following him and making him quite uneasy. Every time I saw him I told him he was the cat’s meow, but he didn’t think I was funny.

When a female duck bobs its head, it could also mean she is broody. Though, I don’t for one second believe this is the case, because Megatron always gives Bakugo a wide berth. She seeks him out, and it has made the drake angry! There have been a couple of times where she’s followed Megatron, head-bobbing, while the drake gets in his face, quacking at him. Like it’s all the roo’s fault this is happening.

There was a short time we thought Kirishima didn’t like Bakugo. We thought she was a lonesome spinster, trying to find love elsewhere. Although that was blown away when we saw both ducks mating. Also on other occasions I saw Bakugo spurn the drake; he wasn’t the best drake out there apparently.

Female Pekin flirting, bobbing head, at rooster in Yard
Megatron with Bakugo next to him. You can’t tell just by the photo, however she was bobbing her head at him.

Here is some more information on the subject of flirting and ducks bobbing their heads. I hope you don’t have a confused chicken or duck. Though, like I said, it’s more common for roosters and drakes to not be very picky about mating. It is, however, unusual for female birds to be confused in this manner, from what I gather. Click here to find out more about duck courtship behavior.

My daughter denies that the duck is flirting with the rooster. She thinks Bakugo wants to be the leader. The boss of the yard based on her behavior toward the other chickens. It’s typical bird behavior with pecking, yelling, and telling them to get out of the way so she can eat. She might want to be the boss, but in my opinion, as Megatron’s First Lady. And then they would be a power couple.

So you may be asking, what does this have to do with a duck wanting to be a chicken? Or with ducks bobbing their heads? Well, everything, because Bakugo knows what she wants. And it appears she’s realized Megatron won’t change his mind about inter-species relationships, so she decided to adopt chicken ways. As she continues to flirt with him.

Initially it was in being the first duck to approach us and actually get snacks from our hands. She crossed a major hurdle when she did that. It was one she knew she had to tackle, because the chickens have been doing it since time immemorial.

She passed another barrier when she started laying eggs in the coop like the other birds. She even managed to convince Aizawa, our Mallard, to do the same. Typically ducks will lay eggs in hidden spots near water.

Bakugo also really gets excited when Megatron makes special noises, like when he’s especially angry or frustrated at our other rooster. I saw her run to him immediately one such time, bobbing her head after him. Of course he instantly calmed down.

Pekin Duck bobbing head at Ameraucana rooster
Megatron with Bakugo and Aizawa.

If you have ducks and they bob their heads, most likely they are bobbing their heads at each other. Also, it is a positive sign that they like each other. There’s nothing to be concerned about. If they bob their heads at you, that means they like you. Although, if you have ducks that bob their heads at the other feathered fowl, then they are interested in a bird not of their species. They could also be confused like my duck. Will Megatron ever see the beauty that is in Bakugo while she flirts with him, bobbing her head? I doubt it, and it isn’t for her lack of trying. It’s hilarious to watch though, and I wonder, will she ever tire of chasing the dashing black rooster, as she bobs her head?



I breed pure Black Ameraucana chickens and Easter Eggers that are Black Ameraucana mixed with either Cuckoo Maran or Barred Rock. And I donate eggs to people or organizations in need.

5 replies on “Why Does My Female Duck Bob its Head?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s