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Kristina Smith

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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 little over a year now, and one female duck bobs her head all the time.

For months I’ve noticed my Pekin bobbing her head at my boss rooster. This isn’t an isolated event either. Bakugo has chased 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’ve been witnessing her behavior for months 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 haven’t had our three ducks very long, so this is still new to us, the whole duck experience. At least it feels that way with the days all running together. We’ve never seen Aizawa, our female Mallard, or Kirishima, our drake or male Pekin, bob their heads. At anyone. So that leaves 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 and don’t display these actions, and that’s 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 choose her natural match, Kirishima, the drake. However, that’s not what’s been going on. She’s set her eyes on the rooster and given him every indication that she likes him. My rooster isn’t aware of what any of this means though; he just knows these odd birds are following him and making him quite uneasy. Every time I see him I tell him he’s the cat’s meow, but he doesn’t think I’m 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 have seen Bakugo spurn the drake; he isn’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 Baby Nay, 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?

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