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A male duck is called a drake and the female duck is called a duck or hen.The ducks are generally monogamous, although these bonds generally last a single year only. Larger species and the more sedentary species (like fast river specialists) tend to have pair-bonds that last numerous years. Most duck species breed once a year, choosing to do so in favourable conditions (spring/summer or wet seasons). Ducks also tend to make a nest before breeding. Although mother ducks are very caring and protective of their young, they are not above abandoning some of their ducklings if they are physically stuck in an area they cannot get out of or are not prospering due to genetic defects or sickness brought about by hypothermia, starvation, or disease. Ducklings can also be orphaned by inconsistent, late hatching where a few eggs hatch long after the mother has abandoned the nest.
Ducks have many economic uses, being farmed for their meat, eggs, feathers, (particularly their down). They are also kept and bred by aviculturists and often displayed in zoos. Almost all the varieties of domestic ducks are descended from the Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), apart from the Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata).
In many areas, wild ducks of various species (including ducks farmed and released into the wild) are hunted for food or sport, by shooting, or formerly by decoys. Because an idle floating duck or a duck squatting on land cannot react to fly or move quickly, "a sitting duck" has come to mean "an easy target".
October 23rd, 2013
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