Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary, 17 Barker Road, Lebanon, CT, 06249

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Adoption FAQ

Sexing a Duck by the Quality of its Quack

You can determine the sex of a duck by listening to the sound of its quack.

At about 10 weeks of age, the voices of all domestic ducks (except Muscovy ducks) take on easily distinguishable male and female characteristics.

The voice of a female (hen) is a loud "Quack-Quack!" or "Uht-Uht!"

The voice of a male (drake) is soft and whispery. They sometimes even have a slight whistle until they reach full maturity.

To listen to the audio tracks of male and female duck quacks, click on the play buttons on the audio consoles below.

If audio console does not display
click on duck icon above.

If audio console does not display
click on duck icon above.


Sexing a Duck by the Curl of its Tail

The voice of a duck is the most accurate indicator of gender, but if a duck is out of earshot, or just plain refuses to talk, you can sometimes determine their sex by the appearance of their tail feathers.

If you see any curled tail feathers, you are most likely looking at a drake.

There are rare occasions when a hen will sprout a deceptive curly tail feather. This tends to occur when there are no drakes in the flock. Sometimes one hen will temporarily take on a mock-drake roll.

Also keep in mind that drakes molt their tail feathers once a year. If you are looking at the tail feathers of a duck during this time, you may be temporarily fooled into believing you are seeing a hen--until a new tail feather grows back in anyway.

Young Jeffrey (Drake) Sports His Curled Tail Feathers

Sexing a Duck by Their Freckles

When mature female ducks begin their egg-laying, the hormones in their bodies cause color changes to their bill and these color changes look a lot like freckles!

A duck with a freckled bill is a female. A duck without freckles could be either male or female.


Sexing a Muscovy Duck 

The call of a mature female Muscovy Duck sounds like a trill or coo--and they even SQUEAK sometimes!

Mature males make a "huch-uch-uch" deep and breathy sound (often while "wagging" their tail and fluffing up the feathers on their crown).

Muscovy ducklings peep just like any other duckling. As ducklings, male Muscovy ducks often have larger feet than females.

Although young Muscovy drakes and hens are very similar in size and appearance, as they age, males grow noticeably larger than females and have more elaborate and bulbous facial masks (caruncles) with a large "bean" over the center of their bill.

Juvenile male & female Muscovy ducks have a black dot on top of their head that fades away as they mature.

 Muscovy Drake:   


  Young Muscovy Hen:



Also See:  Is it a Goose or a Gander?


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