Wondering what is duck teeth?

Ducks eat a variety of foods either directly by filtering from water using their bills or what you toss to them. They have a taste for wet and marshy foods because they are easy for them to swallow whole. Duck teeth is a special adaptation that does not help in chewing of food like you may think.

What most people ask is whether duck teeth help to chew food like cows chew grass and cud. The answer is NO! These birds are very different from humans or other animals that use teeth to chew and grind food into smaller particles before they swallow.

But lack of teeth does not mean ducks don’t eat. They are omnivorous and will eat almost anything edible. Foods like small fish, snails, grubs, insects and treats like peas, cracked corn and birdseed are a favorite food for them.

So, do you want to know more about duck teeth? In this article I am going to tell you whether ducks have teeth and what they are used for.

Let’s roll!

What is duck teeth?

Duck teeth are special serrated notches lined along their bills. They are not used for chewing but rather to hold slippery stuff and tearing down edible weeds for swallowing.

These birds do not have real teeth but rather their bills are lined with special notches called lamellae. They are lined just like the hack saw blades are lined and help to hold and grip slippery duck foods like slimy snails.

Additionally, ducks will open their bills to expose their teeth to intimidate and scare away any opponent or potential threat. Duck teeth are not as harmful as a dogs canines but can cause abrasion on the skin if they bite you.

Do duck teeth help chew food?

Can ducks bite

No duck teeth are not used to chew food. These birds lack teeth and will swallow most of their food whole. They have bills that have serrated notches lined along like hack saw blades are.

In some duck species, these notches are big and can be easily seen lined along the bill. This unique adaptation are what some refer as duck teeth

They use these notches to filter out unwanted particles while looking for food in water. Most of the food that ducks eat is swallowed whole only crushing soft foods into small sizes that are easy to swallow.

Therefore, when feeding ducks that come in your pond, try and chop the food you give them into small pieces for easier swallowing. Large or whole foods may choke them to death.

Ducks nibble food but do not chew a feature that can be mistaken to chewing. They do this while trying to swallow large foods like leafy vegetables. It happens as they try to break the food particles into smaller sizes to make it easier for them to swallow.

Their bills are large, flat and spatulated. This unique feature enables these birds to swallow foods that are big like large fish. It is here they use the lamellae along their bills to help them hold the food to prevent it from sliding over and falling.

Another adaptation that is very unique with ducks is a nail or bean. This is the hooked edge on the bird’s upper bill that enables them to feel food in water.

Do ducks have bills

The bean may have a different color from the rest of the bill or it may have the same color as the bill. It also helps prevent grasped food like slippery snails from falling.

Where do ducks get food from?

Ducks are filter feeders and will get most of their food from water. Examples of these ducks are Mallards, Spanish ducks and Muscovy ducks.

Here they use a sense of feel more than they use eyesight. Ducks will soil any clean water along their way as they rake trying to get something edible under the mud.

For domestic ducks, their keepers offer treats for them. They are fed with seeds, grains, formulated pellets and kitchen scrap. They are also let out to range where they collect worms, grass, insects, grubs and small plants they get.

Feeding ducks with kitchen scrap is sometimes very unhealthy as these foods contain salt that may kill your birds. In addition, junk food is very unhealthy to them just as it is to humans.

Such foods will make these birds overweight and in turn develop leg and back problems. For the wild ducks, they will become too heavy and unable to fly making them vulnerable to predation.

Feeding bread to ducks is not good. Bread contains very little nutrients thus not good. It also leads to a condition called the angels wings syndrome a problem that affects the birds wings making it hard for them to fly.

Can a duck bite and do ducks have tongues?

Ducks and geese can be very aggressive when broody or when they have baby ducklings and goslings respectively. They can defend their eggs or young very fiercely and one way they do that is by trying to peck you.

Ducks try to bite by even pulling your clothing but they unfortunately cannot do it because they lack teeth. These birds have a tongue with hair like projections on it that helps push food down the throat for swallowing.

This tongue has hundreds of taste buds on it that help in distinguishing different tastes of food they eat. They also have saliva that makes the food slippery and moist for easier swallowing.

Do ducks pee

Yes ducks do pee just like any living animal that eats food. Duck poop is very common in backyards, ponds, duck pens and any place habitated by these webbed birds.

Ducks excrete watery poop which can be very disgusting. They do this because they drink a lot and most of their foods is swallowed wet and marshy especially when feeding in lakes and other water bodies.

However, because these birds do not have a urinary bladder, they do not pass out liquid waste or urine. Instead, their poop is rich in ammonia which makes it very good for your garden as manure.

Water ducks helps fatigate streams and other water bodies making water plants to thrive well. Additionally, duck poop creates a good breeding ground for worms which in turn are eaten by fish which are good food for ducks.


Bills help ducks eat food. They are also used to filter and collect food particles they get. Lacking teeth is an adaptation in birds as they are able to swallow most of their foods whole.

The small saw like teeth along the ducks bill does not help chewing of food in any way. Rather, they help to grasp and hold slippery foods like slugs.

They also use these lamellae to pull small plants they get in the ponds and break them. This unique adaptation helps ducks keep their stomachs full.

Do your ducks have teeth? Talk to us on the comment section

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